Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The 2012 Summer Stage Review: Volume 2

Self Help at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover)
I went along to see Self Help because a friend-of-a-friend was in the cast.  It's a Norm Foster comedy, so I didn't go expecting much, which is to say I went expecting to see the same show I'd seen several times, just with different character names and in a slightly different setting.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Self Help was Foster's foray into farce which, while not necessarily a brilliant script if you think too hard about it, is at least something different.  The cast had nice energy and chemistry for the broad humour and sold the silliness convincingly.  The one moment that chemistry seemed to stumble was during a make-out session between on-stage husband and wife team, played by Stephen Savage and Melodee Finlay, in which frenetic energy didn't quite land as the intended passion.  Ah well.  Small complaint, really, for  a production that managed to keep my attention and made me smile despite being a Norm Foster show.  Stand out in the cast was Paul Brown as Detective Snow, whose physical comedy was surprisingly organic given the rather heavy-handed direction the show had received (it's certainly painted with pretty sweeping, broad strokes), not to mention summary and sometimes obvious writing.

All-in-all, it was an entertaining night at summer theatre.  Meeting with the cast afterwards, it was evident that the chemistry behind the scenes was likely a great ingredient in the show's success onstage.  A lovely group of people.

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