Thursday, July 27, 2017

Second Foster Festival production of the second season a winner

Last evening my far better half and I walked downtown to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre for the second production of year two for The Foster Festival, Norm Foster's Old Love.  Bookended by a couple of world premieres this season, the middle production did not disappoint.

Old Love is what you might call an "oldie but goodie" in the Foster canon, and an easy choice for almost any summer theatre company as it usually employs just two actors portraying a number of roles.  That being said, if you go with the two-actor option you had best be sure you have a formidable duo making up the cast or else the whole thing could fall flat.

Director Patricia Vanstone chose this riskier route rather than employ several actors to fill the roles, and without question it was a wise decision.  The theatrical high-wire act for this production utilizes the considerable talents of real-life husband-and-wife team of Booth Savage and Janet-Laine Green.

Savage and Green are comfortable enough with each other after all these years they can easily and fluidly move from role to role without much effort at all.  With few props to add to the characterizations, they bring many nuances to their various roles that add important definition to each part so as not to confuse the audience.

The simple yet effective set by Peter Hartwell and sympathetic lighting by David Tkach combine to further provide the fluid movement from character to character on stage.  Together the whole makes for a satisfying evening of quality theatre.

The story revolves around Bud, a hard-working newbie at a company owned by Molly's husband Frank.  At least he was a newbie 25 years ago when he first set eyes on Molly at the company Christmas party.  The impression Molly made on Bud was obviously significant because he thought of her off and on for many years thereafter, even during his lengthy marriage to master-promoter Kitty.

Fast-forward those 25 years and we find now-divorced Molly grieving at the graveside for ex-husband Frank, when who should also appear but Bud.  She didn't remember him, but oh did he remember her.  So much so he made a special effort to be there that day for the funeral and in his own clumsy way, try to put the move on Molly while Frank was barely cold in the box underground.

Therein lies the plot for Old Love.  Bud tries so very hard to get Molly to take a chance on love again after all these years and Molly not wanting any part of it, at least for now.  The witty repartee between the two is classic Norm Foster, combining the perfect balance of seriousness and frivolity according to the situation.

As mentioned earlier, it takes a special couple to pull off the multiple roles and with but a few verbal mis-steps by Green last evening, the chemistry between the two worked flawlessly.  They appear at times acerbic, sentimental, funny and even brutally honest with each other as the scene allows.

Old Love wraps up its run at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre tomorrow evening, so there is still time to snag some tickets if you have not already done so.  Go online to or call the box office at 905-688-0722.

Next week, the final production of the season opens, and it is the second world premiere for the season, Lunenburg, running from August 2nd to the 18th.  It should be a great way to end an already successful season for The Foster Festival.

Have a great weekend!

July 27th, 2017.

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