From TV writer/producer Chris Haddock (Boardwalk Empire, DaVinci’s Inquest) and Stan Douglas, world-renowned Vancouver photo-artist, comes Helen Lawrence. The creativity and preparation for this show was no doubt monumental, but it was well worth it.
Set in Vancouver 1948, the story centers on the visit of an unknown woman, Helen Lawrence (Lisa Ryder). The elegant Helen shows up at a rundown hotel looking for Percy (Nicholas Lea), here she meets the androgynous clerk Joey (Haley McGee) and her manager Harry (Hrothgar Mathews). Suspicion about the reason for her visit begins to rise. Helen reveals that she is looking for Percy because he left her with the blame of murdering her rich husband. Subplots are weaved into the storyline, typical of the hard-boiled genre. Gambling, alliances, sex, smoking, and murder are what populate this story.
The show is presented in an unorthodox way. A translucent screen is set up in front of the stage; this screen serves as a backdrop for a live feed of the performances. There is no set; instead there is a blue backdrop that acts as a green screen. 3D Computer animation fills in the spaces around the actors and depicts their location. The genius of this set up is that the hassle of changing backdrops is gone. The characters can move from a formal setting, such as a detective’s office, to the beat-up alley of town in a matter of seconds. The details of the animation and the close-ups of the camera allowed me to be pleasantly thrown into a dual theatre/film experience.