Two local actors make National Post’s list of year’s best performances

Published on January 2, 2013

Two local actors were named in the National Post’s list of best theatre performances in 2012.

Writer Robert Cushman named Petrina Bromley and Nicole Underhay among the past year’s most talented stage actors, for their performances in “Oil and Water” and “The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs,” respectively.

Bromley, who is in Ottawa rehearsing for the National Arts Centre’s “Metamorphoses,” said she first heard about the list when a friend posted her congratulations on Facebook.

“I’m amazed to be even mentioned. Completely humbled and honored to be listed with the likes of Kelli Fox and Michael Healey,” she told The Telegram.

“I love Violet Pike. She’s a gift. I’m so lucky to get to tell her side of that story in the middle of a skilled and supportive ensemble,” Bromley said.

Bromley played the role of Violet in Artistic Fraud’s “Oil and Water,” written by Robert Chafe and directed by Jillian Keiley (who is directing “Metamorphoses” in her newest role as artistic director of English theatre with the NAC), which toured the country in 2012.

The play is based on the story of Lanier Phillips, the only African-American survivor of the USS Truxton shipwreck near St. Lawrence in 1942.

He was taken to the home of Violet Pike, a local woman, who tried to wash the oil off his body, not realizing it was his natural skin colour.

“Jill and Robert have given me some of the most incredible opportunities of my career and I am grateful and lucky to be involved with them. But it’s ensemble work and only happens through the combined efforts of the full cast, crew and technical team.”

Underhay has more than 45 stage credits, as well as film credits in “The Shipping News,” “Random Passage” and others. She starred as Grace in the English premiere of Quebec playwright Carole Fréchette’s “The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs,” by Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre company — a woman drawn to a room in her home she’s forbidden to enter by her new husband.

Twitter: tara_bradbury