The initial attraction for this reviewer was that the play was written by Robertson Davies and that meant that as a Davies junkie I could not dislike it if I tried.
Hunting Stuart, set in a simple flat in 1950s Ottawa takes place in a single evening. The Stuart family (and the audience) are given the opportunity to look at what they actually value in life and balance their true emotions against perceived social place, ideals and appearances. The results arent always in line with the roles theyve built for themselves. It is made very clear that "weve all got old houses over our heads whether we like it or not".
The cast is a combination of first timers and veterans, well cast to their particular roles. In spite of a few unsteady moments, large portions of the performance provided a rollicking good time.
Theatre in the park can be a risky proposition. As I write this review only a block away from the park I am listening to a steady downpour of summer rain. Opening night was a washout. Fortunately for this reviewer, the final dress rehearsal was held under much better conditions.
Weston Little Theatre has again chosen to present its summer production outdoors. This time it is Wrong for Each Other by Norm Foster. The play manages to relive a full six-year relationship of the two characters through the use of flashbacks and a spirited conversation at a lunch time café.
In retrospect (and from the lawn) everything seems to have started out fine. That should have been the warning - solid relationships need to be much more than fine. As we relive the courtship, marriage and eventual breakdown of the same it becomes increasingly more obvious that they truly were simply wrong for each other. Can they see it ? Will they see it ? Or is it true that love is blind ?
For Fiona Stewart this is a repeat venue for her directing skills having directed last year's theatre in the park production as well. Fiona's credits also include a number of productions with the Mississauga Players.
Val Tait has returned to the Weston Little Theatre for her third role with them as Norah. She caught the acting bug while living in Ottawa and has continued to develop her skills now that she is in Toronto. Val is proving herself to be a solid asset to the group.
Barry Pletch as Rudy has moved into a new area of performance
in this debut with the group. His previous stage experience has
centred upon roles in musicals and he recently hosted the Miss
Canada International Pageant. The more animated moments in the
play were Barry's shining moments.
The Little Avenue Memorial Park is a good venue for smaller productions such as this one. Weather permitting, the play will enjoy a run of two weekends with an encore performance during the Weston Blast on Labour Day weekend.
The Weston Little Theatre's current production of Neil Simon's Rumors opened tonight to a nearly full house and everyone went home with a smile on their face. The two act comedy was one of the most polished presentations of this group in recent memories.
The competent and experienced actors were well cast to their roles and able to play to each other with exacting timing. They come from varied backgrounds ranging from graduates of professional theatre schools to local amateurs but this reviewer would dare anyone to define their C.V.s by viewing the performance.
Rumors is a fast paced comedy of errors and deceit. The guests arrive to the party to encounter a very different evening. Lies and games are the order of the night. The relationships create some very interesting twists and the personal motives of the characters are rarely in synch. The more convoluted the evening becomes, the more genuine the reactions of each to the others and the more frequent the audience laughter.
Jeannette Palframan can be justifiably proud of her directorial debut. The actors and crew of the Weston Little Theatre have all performed to their best and the result is a good night out.