THE BASICS: This delicious one act comedy by J M Barrie (PETER PAN, THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON), fills (appropriately enough) the Luchtime Theater slot at the Shaw Festival this year. Lezlie Wade directs a cast of five. Courthouse Theatre. The curtain is at 11:30am, and the show is done by 12:10, giving patrons something additional to chew on as they dine at one of the many fine restaurants in town!
THE PLAY, THE PLAYERS AND THE PRODUCTION: The play, a Social Comedy on a Feminist Theme, is Barrie at his best, which is saying a lot. The humor is arch, the points made deftly, without recourse to preaching (which is sometimes, sadly, NOT the case with his contemporary, Bernard Shaw). The economy of the piece is… amazing. You can put down LOOK as one the best of the Shaw’s many acclaimed “rediscoveries”.
The acting is all you could wish for. Patrick Galligan is the particular standout as the nearly-Sir-Harry Sims, a classic Edwardian MCP (male chauvinist pig) who adheres staunchly to the “trickle down” theory of female happiness (ie: men pursue glory, and charitably allow their women to bask in it.) The chipper, hard working typist Kate (Moya O’Connell) and the beautiful, idle, uber-supportive nearly-Lady Sims (Kate Besworth) provide a nice contrast in womanly roles—or do they?
The well-appointed, handsome, somewhat gloomy set by Wm Schmuck deftly captures the acquisitiveness of the era. Among the fine period costumes, Ms. Besworth’s shimmering silver gown is so stunning that it must be singled out. Director Wade, obviously in her element, has the whole thing running like a top, start to finish.
Does Niagara-on-the-Lake seem like too much of a drive to see a thirty five minute play? Think again.
*HERD OF BUFFALO (Notes on the Rating System)
ONE BUFFALO: This means trouble. A dreadful play, a highly flawed production, or both. Unless there is some really compelling reason for you to attend (i.e. you are the parent of someone who is in it), give this show a wide berth.
TWO BUFFALOS: Passable, but no great shakes. Either the production is pretty far off base, or the play itself is problematic. Unless you are the sort of person who’s happy just going to the theater, you might look around for something else.
THREE BUFFALOS: I still have my issues, but this is a pretty darn good night at the theater. If you don’t go in with huge expectations, you will probably be pleased.
FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre/content are up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend.
FIVE BUFFALOS: Truly superb–a rare rating. Comedies that leave you weak with laughter, dramas that really touch the heart. Provided that this is the kind of show you like, you’d be a fool to miss it!