Faith Healer is a play I didn't know anything about. I knew Briel Friel's rep but since I'm not interested in spending my evenings being depressed, I was going to give this a pass.
But I couldn't resist the siren song of Stuart Hughes. He's intelligent (see these interviews), talented, and awesome. I've been a fan for a very long time, ever since he and Joe Ziegler did Kiss of the Spider Woman at what I believe was still Toronto Free Theatre. In those days, he was sex on stage. He's not conventionally handsome but when he was onstage he was absolutely compelling.
He disappeared for a while from Toronto stages, trying his luck in LA, then became one of the founding members of Soulpepper. And for the first couple of shows I saw him in, the magic wasn't there. But I'm really happy to say that it felt llike those days again seeing this show.
My theory is that he works energy, probably unconsciously. He forgot how to do it for a while but now he has it again. And this role completely showcases that. He works his charisma in the first monologue, then brings it down for the end of the show. I may be biased but it felt masterful to me.
My bias comes because he is an incredibly open and beautiful person, one of the sweetest people I know. I'm in awe of his talent. And I feel so priviledged to know him.