Tuesday, August 31, 2021


 Reviewed by James Karas

Alice Childress (1916-1994) wrote thirteen plays and is credited with some “firsts” by an African-American playwright in American theatre, but productions of her works are relatively scarce. The Shae Festival has stepped into the breach by producing one of her best-know plays. Trouble in Mind, at the small Studio Theatre. Social distancing is observed  resulting in many if not most seats in the theatre being unoccupied. No matter because it’s a damn sight better than nothing.

Trouble in Mind  premiered in 1955 in an Off-Broadway production in New York and you can count the number of subsequent productions on your fingers. It did not make it to Broadway and the present production may well be its first in Canada.

Trouble in Mind is a play within a play. Its characters are gathered in a theatre in New York to rehearse a play called  Chaos in Belleville. Trouble  has a cast of four black and two white actors while the director and his assistant as well as the doorman are white. Chaos is is a fictitious play and is supposed to be about anti-lynching.

The cast of Troble in Mind. Photo: Lauren Garbutt.

Racism is the central issue of the play and Childress addresses it fearlessly. Nafessa Monroe plays Wiletta Mayer in a powerful performance as a middle-aged actor who is cast to play the mother in Chaos. Wiletta meets John (Kaleb Alexander) a young black actor, new to the theatre, who dreams of going to the top. She gives him some tips about the theatre which is show business and how to deal with management which, of course is white. She advises him not to admit he has taken acting classes, lie about having experience, do not suggest that he is eager for the job and laugh at their jokes no matter how unfunny they may be. In other words, this is how you deal with whites who know they are superior to you and no doubt consider you inferior.

The other black actors are Millie (Kiera Sangster) and Sheldon (David Alan Anderson). Sheldon is an old man and he needs to cover the necessities of life. He has lived with racism for a long time. Millie is a brash and attractive young woman wearing a fur coat and exuding confidence and a devil-may-care attitude. One suspects it is a veneer that she puts up as a protective shield against the reality that she inhabits. Sangster is excellent.

Judy (Kristi Frank) is an attractive, wide-eyed, Yale-educated blonde who thinks people are all the same. She wants to invite the cast to her parents’ house. Wiletta knows the world much better and asks Judy to ask her parents first. That alone says volumes about American racism and ignorance of its existence by some people. Kudos to Frank.

The most rabid racist is Renard, a character in Chaos, who delivers a masterful defence of racism for the delusional Americans who think racism and segregation are examples of moderation. He quotes Emerson, Henry Clay, Longfellow, Dickens and Hitler. Racism in support of segregation backed up by great men. 

In Trouble he is one of the actors who keeps to himself except for the fact that he does not want to go for lunch with the cast lest someone sees him! Superb work by Galligan.

After Wiletta, the most interesting character is the director, Al Manners (an outstanding Graeme Somerville). He is intense, full of himself and directing his first Broadway show. In his opinion, he is not a racist and wants to direct an inspired  production of a play that includes a mother giving up her son to a lynch mob. The details about this are sparse but the message is clear. Manners is dealing with four black actors who have lived with racism all their lives but he, like all good racists, is not interested in listening to them. The play reaches its climax when Wiletta pressures Manners to respond to her question whether he would give up his son to a lynch mob. He tells her that he and his son cannot be compared to a black parent and her son. In other words, things like that do not happen to white folks.

The play is done in a theatre-in-the-round set with a few props in the playing area designed by Rachel Forbes. Director Philip Akin does outstanding work in putting the whole thing together with a firm and knowing hand. We get a moving, sometimes funny and always superb performance of a play that we have waited too long to see.    


Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress continues until October 9, 2021, at the Jackie Maxwell Studio, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. www.shawfest.com.

Friday, August 27, 2021


Reviewed by James Karas 

The Stratford Festival has been facing the grim reality of the pandemic and has had to erect  large canopies, including one next the the sparking new Tom Pattern Theatre, to produce a few shows to keep the Festival going and keep our memories of the good old days alive.

Tomson Highway’s  The Rez Sisters is an inspired choice for many reasons but the great quality of the play is sufficient justification on its own. The play premiered in 1986 at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and won the Dora Mavor Moore Award as the Best New Play. It takes place on a reservation, hence the Rez, the short form for it in the title. The Sisters are seven women who one way or another can claim the relationship suggested by that word.

Through the seven sisters, Highway gives a portrait of life on The Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. The author tells us that Wasaychigan means window in Ojibway and the play is indeed an opening to the lives of a cross section of women who live there.

Photo: David Hou

They are all indigenous, of course, and they have some common characteristics as well as individual traits. The most common characteristic is the desire to get out of poverty, acquire some “things” and fulfill some dreams and most importantly win at bingo. The pot of gold for these woman lies in The Biggest Bingo Game and the end of the rainbow is in Toronto.

Pelajia’s first words are “I wanna go to Toronto.” The reservation, with its poverty and social problems such as violence and rape, is also a dream factory. The dreams vary from getting a stove, to buying an island or a record player to winning The Biggest Bingo Game.

Director Jessica Carmichael, like Highway, does not want to minimize the problems of the women but she wants us to see their positive side as well. The energy, the boisterousness, and the sense of community are all there. Carmichael puts the production in overdrive and rarely gears down.  

There are several factors that militate against the complete success of the production. The canopy does not help with the acoustics. All the actors are miked for fear that we may not hear them even in the small space under the canopy. The problem is that all the dialogue comes from the loudspeakers and many times the only way you can recognize who is speaking is by looking for moving lips. At times things became confusing.

The Rez Sisters is also a funny play but the mode of the performance drowned out almost all the laughter. That is an unfortunate reduction in enjoying a play that combines humour and drama.

The talented cast no doubt followed instructions and had to settle for the unenviable venue. They deserve kudos for their performance. I list them alphabetically; Brefny Caribou plays the pathetic and mentally challenged Zhaboonigan. Lisa Cromarty plays Marie-Adele Starblanket, a woman with 14 children, suffering from cancer. Irene Poole plays Veronique, a woman married to a drunkard and ridiculed by the others for not having children of her own. However, she had the decency to adopt Zhaboonigan after her parents were killed in a car crash. She wants a stove to feed all the children.

Nicole-Joy Fraser plays the light-hearted Annie Cook who is sure she will win the Biggest Bingo in Toronto and go to every record store and load up on records. Jani Lauzon plays Pelajia, the senior of the group who has strong ties to the community but still wants to go to Toronto. Kathleen MacLean plays the foul-mouthed and slutty Emily Dictionary. Tracey Nepinak has the role of the no-holds-barred Philomena.

Zach Running Coyote plays Nanabush, a dancer, who is in turn a Seagull, a Nighthawk and the Bingo Master. Nanabush is the one who takes Marie-Adele’s soul into the spirit world.

Obviously, the production of The Rez Sisters under a canopy was unplanned and we should be grateful. We are and hope that next year we can see it in a beautiful theatre.


The Raz Sisters by Tomson Highway played until Augusts 21, 2021 under the canopy next to the Tom Patterson Theatre, Stratford, Ontario. www.stratfordfestival.ca

Monday, August 23, 2021


 Reviewed by James Karas

As the whole world knows, once upon a time Alice and her sister were sitting on  the bank of a river and she was bored. She peeped at the book that her sister was reading and noticed that it had no pictures or conversations. That will not do. But wait – there is a white rabbit with pink eyes that just ran by!

The Guild Theatre Festival has undertaken to act out for us some of Alice’s adventures as she follows the rabbit into a rabbit-hole and her wonderfully memorable experiences begin.

David Savoy has adopted a few of Alice’s adventures into a taut and fast-paced play that can be performed with the minimum of props and the maximum of kinetic energy directed by Tyler J. Seguin.

The production needs only six actors – two men and four women. I am tempted to say boys and girls because they display such agility, drive, speed and coordination that they may well power a Tesla for a long distance.

Kiana Wood as Alice. Photo Credits: Raph Nogal Photography

I need to tell you who they are and what they do, alphabetically, please. Cayne Kitagawa plays the White Rabbit, Footman 1, White Knight and Tweedle Dee. Anna-Marie Krystiuk takes on the Eagle, Cheshire Cat March Hare, Tweedle Dum and Card 7.  Muhaddisah is responsible for Dormouse, Cook, Rose and Card 2. Michael Williamson represents the Parrot, Footman 2, Mad Hatter, Daisy, Mock Turtle and Card 5. Lauren Wolanski is the Queen of Hearts, Caterpillar, Duchess, Tiger Lily, Sister and Dodo.  Kiana Woo is the super-charged, Energizer-bunny-you-are-a-turtle-compared-to-me Alice. If you want to know how many roles are played on stage, do your own arithmetic.

A production that emphasizes speed, clarity and humour with a minimum of props needs imaginative staging. Alice needs to go down, down, down the rabbit hole. You achieve that by having Alice stand over a few hoops and have them lifted over her head as she descends into wonderland.

We need a Queen of Hearts dressed in a regal gown. Cast members unfold a large, colourful tarp. They shake it open and the Queen mounts a stand and they drape the imperial attire around her.

The sped and energy with which the actors perform is accompanied with clear enunciation and wonderful vocal variations. We want the actors to do justice to the representation of the various characters and they do.

The production is designed by Nancy Ann Perrin to be played on the open and limited space of The Greek Theatre in the Guild Park & Gardens, Scarborough. The program lists seven people responsible for Paint and Props and they do provide a colourful spectacle as you would expect in Wonderland.

A thoroughly enjoyable ninety minutes and a visit with a group of familiar characters.


Alice in Wonderland adapted by David Savoy from the story by Lewis Carroll will run until August 29, 2021, at The Greek Theatre, Guild Park & Gardens, 201 Guildwood Parkway, Scarborough, Ontario.  www.guildfestivaltheatre.ca/

James Karas is the Senior Editor - Culture of The Greek Press

Sunday, August 22, 2021


Reviewed by James Karas 

Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women is an intriguing, stimulating and brilliant play that receives a production befitting the latter description by the Stratford Festival, in the small Studio Theatre. The pandemic reduced the number of spectators but it did nothing to affect the extraordinary quality of the production.

Diana Leblanc directed the outstanding Martha Henry, Lucy Peacock and Mamie Zwettler in a production that brought out the humour, tragedy and impact of Albee’s 1991 Pulitzer Prize winner that is partly autobiographical and riveting theatre. The play was done in two parts. Act I was performed at 3:00 in the afternoon and an Act II at 7:00 in the evening.     

The three tall women of the first act are named A, B and C for reasons that are hinted on in the first act and become more explicit in the second half. A (Martha Henry) is a 90+ year old wealthy woman who is taken care of by B (Lucy Peacock) and is visited by C (Mamie Zwettler), a young woman from a lawyer’s office.

From left: Mamie Zwettler, Lucy Peacock and Martha Henry. Photography by V. Tony Hauser.

A is the centre of attention. The following are some of the traits of the wealthy, old woman: selfish, arrogant, bigoted, threatening, crotchety, vengeful, paranoid, confused, forgetful, unpleasant. A rich bitch. She needs a walker to get around and B and C don’t kowtow to her all the time.

B at 52 is a caregiver who can be sarcastic or put up with the old bitch without hiding her displeasure at times. C at 26 is pretty, ambitious and tries to get some paperwork signed by A without much luck. Like B she does not always hide her displeasure.

In the second act, A is up and about and the three women discuss life in the wealthy class including courtship, love, marriage, hope, optimism, dreams, infidelity, horseback riding, children and all the miseries that life can bring.

Albee gives us hints in the first act about who these women are. C is 26, B is twice that at 52. They do not have names except for the letters of the alphabet. In the second act, it becomes clearer especially in C’s recollection of the first time she made love and A and B have the same memory. We realize that the three tall women are in fact one woman at three stages in her life.

The production is superb. Martha Henry gives a supreme performance as A using her immense talent to display all the characteristics of the old woman described above; Lucy Peacock, using the twang in her voice that she can employ when she wants to, is simply outstanding as the woman in middle age who is beyond youthful optimism and will soon face what she sees in the future. Mamie Zwettler as C is a good girl, she tells us, and she will never become like the two other women. She will find a way to avoid all the miseries that she sees and hears described by herself at different stages of her life. Beautifully done.

The play has a fourth character called The Boy, a silent part played by Andrew Iles. He is usually seen as Albee himself confronting his mother and his hideous relationship with her.

The production is designed by Francesca Callow. The set is a room in the house of a wealthy person with several chairs and some furniture. That is all that is required. In the second act, Albee’s stage directions call for A to remain lying on a bed with a mask on. We only see a mask because A will appear live. In this production, we see A on a platform above the acting area, lying in bed.  It works.

To go back to the beginning, the play Three Tall Woman and this production under the expert direction of Diana Leblanc, is theatre at its best. Something we should see on a regular basis.


Three Tall Women by Edward Albee continues until October 9, 2021 at the Studio Theatre, 34 George Street East, Stratford. Ontario. www.stratfordfestival.ca

James Karas is the Senior Editor - Culture of The Greek Press

Tuesday, August 10, 2021


Reviewed by James Karas

The Guild Theatre Festival is in its 10th season with a production of David French’s Salt-Water Moon in the Greek Theatre in the Guild Park and Gardens in Scarborough. The two-hander is an excellent choice and the Guild Festival provides an entertaining evening in the beautiful setting of the park.

Salt-Water Moon is a marvelous play about Jacob, a young man of seventeen returning to Newfoundland to woo his girlfriend Mary, a year after he left her to go to Toronto. The play is richly poetic and full of humour, tenderness and drama. Mary is understandably angry, hurt and resentful for being abandoned by Jacob. In his absence she became engaged to a rich young man if only to get out of her poverty.

The play is set in Coley’s Point, Newfoundland in August 1926, ten years after the Battle of the Somme in which hundreds of Newfoundlanders were slaughtered. Mary’s father was killed while Jacob’s father survived but both families ended up in dire poverty and victims of abuse by the well-off people of the town.

Sarah Gibbons and Alex Furber

Jacob and Mary have to work out the personal pain and anger as well as the social conditions that they are living in before they can let love triumph over all those obstacles.

The Guild Theatre stages the play in the Greek Theatre which consists of eight Greek columns in a park with a few dozen plastic chairs in the grass for the audience. On a warm summer evening it is a beautiful setting and requires no sets at all except for a rocking chair.

Alex Furber as Jacob and Sarah Gibbons as Mary have a lot of ground to cover in 90 minutes as they go through many stages of courtship, conflicting emotions, visits to the past, and looks at the present. Furber and Gibbons do fine work and they take us through  the emotional variations and narration of past events.

Furber as Jacob must display a lot of ardor, show bravado, belittle Mary’s fiancé, be entertaining and cajoling, and go through a gamut of methods to appease and convince Mary that he still loves her. Gibbons as Mary has not only to work out her anger and hurt but to consider her social position and her sister’s condition before choosing to dump her wealthy fiancé.

Both Furber and Gibbons have to bring out French’s poetry and they do a good job in delivering  the musicality of the Newfoundland accent and the resonance of the prose.

Director Helen Juvonen does a fine job in keeping the pace of the play and being attentive to the pauses and the necessary modulations.

Salt-Water Moon premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in 1984 in the halcyon days of Bill Glassco and Canadian theatre. Coley’s Point, Newfoundland, where it is set also happens to be David French’s birthplace. It was a pleasure to see it again.


Salt-Water Moon by David French will run until August 15, 2021, at The Greek Theatre, Guild Park & Gardens, 201 Guildwood Parkway, Scarborough, Ontario. www.guildfestivaltheatre.ca/

James Karas is the Senior Editor of The Greek Press, Toronto

Saturday, August 7, 2021


 Reviewed by James Karas

Blindness is a work for the theatre based on a novel. No amount of describing it can give an adequate depiction of actually experiencing the production. I will shortcut my review by advising you to get your ticket as fast as possible. Go to www.mirvish.com/ and start booking. It is theatre like you never saw before and never imagined. I will give you some details without any pretence to doing the production justice.

Let me take you through some of the steps you will take to get in the theatre that may give an idea of what Blindness is about. If you manage to get one of the 50 tickets that are available for each performance, you will be assigned a spot in the lobby of The Princess of Wales Theatre corresponding to your seat number. You will be given instructions about social distancing, Covid-19 protocols and more importantly what you can do during the show if you need to get out or, by implication, get a panic attack.

You will then be led on the stage of The Princess of Wales Theatre and shown to your seat which is pandemic-protocol situated in rows where not everyone is facing in the same direction. The walls are all black but there are lights above and under the seats. There is a set of headphones, a flashlight beside you for emergency purposes and instructions about conduct. These are just the preliminaries and the performance which lasts about 75 minutes has not begun yet.

The production begins and you hear the marvellous voice of Juliet Stevenson through your earphones telling a dramatic story about a man suddenly and inexplicably going blind in his car on a busy street in an unnamed city. He is driven to his home by a kind stranger who then steals his car. He is taken to the office of his ophthalmologist and information starts trickling in that many other people are going blind as well. The ophthalmologist goes home and he too becomes blind. His wife does not.

There is a major and catastrophic epidemic of blindness and people are starving, killing each other and dogs are seen eating the flesh of a recently deceased person. It is a horrific situation that inspires terror, hunger, inhumanity and the need for communal cohesion. Epidemics have been around since time immemorial and there are heart-wrenching descriptions of their effects on people. I think of reading descriptions of the Black Death of the mid-fourteenth century or Daniel Defoe’s A Year of the Plague Journal that are unbearable. What you get in Blindness is more immediate and far more terrifying.

Blindness has an additional and crucial difference. All the people are are moved by the government to a hospital for their protection and safety. They are in fact moved to a large warehouse, a former mental asylum where they are prisoners. The play is as much about totalitarian government as it is about an epidemic.

There are no actors in Blindness except for the voice of Juliet Stevenson speaking in your headphone. When she speaks or whispers to her husband and to other victims it is as if she is speaking or whispering to you. Not the other 49 people on the stage, just you. She whispers that she is looking for a lighter and you hear her in your left ear. She then flicks the lighter near your right ear. You hear her footsteps as she come near you from behind and hear and almost feel her breath as she speaks. You instinctively turn around – it is completely dark in the theatre – to see her. Do you remember the scene of the Cowardly Lion facing the Wizard of Oz? He was startled when he thought someone pulled his tail. He was so scared he pulled it himself. I had a Cowardly Lion moment. I was holding onto the headphones cable and when I turned to see who was speaking in my ear, I pulled the cord and thought I had bumped into the speaker. There was no one there, of course, but the illusion persisted throughout that you were with the ophthalmologist’s wife and the blind people experiencing the nightmare of the epidemic.

The sound system is so brilliant, you hear the whispers and intimate talk as if someone is an inch away from you as well as the loud noises further off and everything that is happening in the hospital, the basement of the supermarket or outside on the street. It is a frightful experience.

The lights flash on and off. The fluorescent fixtures are lowered to eyelevel. But much of the time we are like the people we hear about, in complete darkness.

Blindness is subtitled “A Socially Distanced Sound Installation” and is based on the novel by José Saramago, which was published in 1995, well before the current pandemic. The novel provides the basic story but it is the genius Simon Stephens who adapted the novel for the stage, Walter Meierjohann who directed the production for the Donmar theatre in London, Ben and Rex Ringham who designed the sound system, Lizzie Clachan who designed the production and Jessica Hung Han Yun who designed the lighting. I feel I am doing them a gross injustice by simply listing their names but the result is a theatrical masterpiece.    

I go back to the beginning. Get your tickets and see theatre like you have never seen before.


Blindness by Simon Stephens based on the novel by José Saramago continues until August 29, 2021 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. West, Toronto, Ontario. www.mirvish.com/

Friday, August 6, 2021


Reviewed by James Karas

Off the Grid is a play by John Spurway that is playing at the Victoria Playhouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea, a village on the south shore of Prince Edwards Island. On occasion, the theatre or the city merit some comments somewhere in the review.  The Victoria Playhouse and Victoria-by-the-Sea deserve much more.

It is a fishing village that was founded in 1819. It had its days of glory which were diminished when the Trans Canada Highway bypassed it. The village is not doing badly by any stretch of the imagination. Its population in 2011 was 102 but by 2016 it had shrunk by 28% to 74. According to a resident, it has sprung back to over 100.

The village has many amenities that much bigger towns would envy including the Victoria Playhouse, which was established forty years ago, that, according to its president, has provided “riveting drama, uproarious comedy, an excellent concert series, children’s theatre lessons, a community cornerstone, countless memories and so much more.” In a village of 100 people!

                                                        Photo: Heather Ogg
The Victoria Playhouse is a beautiful small theatre that can seat 150 people but had only 48 spectators when I attended because of Covid-19 distancing rules.

Playwright John Spurway, a native of New Brunswick, has had several of his plays produced but none in Atlantic Canada until the Victoria Playhouse picked up his Off the Grid. It is a good choice for a summer festival. It needs three actors and a simple, single set. For the plot, we have Marty (Melissa Kramer) and her husband Leonard (Dennis Trainor) who go to a remote cabin in the woods that has no internet, no television or any of the amenities that we associate with life in the city. But the cabin does have some special features.

Marty is an architect and Leonard a bank loans officer and they do have some issues between them. They want a child however Leonard is reluctant to take the requisite steps, but Marty is pursuing it methodically. She is also writing an article about the isolated but ultra-modern cabin which has a special indoor outhouse.

One of the couple’s issues, we are told by Leonard, is that she speaks 20,000 words per day to his 7,000. What’s more, he has a secret that he is afraid to reveal to his wife and is unsure about his future. They have a neighbour, Lowell (Lee J. Campbell) who looks like a hermit and lives in a ramshackle cabin nearby. (Marty and Leonard’s cabin is not that isolated after all) Lowell has a deep secret as well and all of their issues will be unraveled in an entertaining way.

There is good verbal humour. Lowell describes a situation when an electric tool loses its power. It stops vibrating and the woman decides to finish the job herself and the man says when that happens one has to take things in hand. Well, you did not guess it until he tells us that he is talking about an electric toothbrush. The series of double entendre are hilarious.

Kramer and Trainor play the attractive couple with their strong sexual urges that, unfortunately, are not synchronized and other misunderstandings. Campbell’s Lowell looks like an old hermit but turns out to be a far more interesting man. Mark Fraser directs the play and sets a brisk pace as the complications ebb and flow. It is a thriller and I will not spoil the ending for you.

The play is perfect summer stock, simple, funny, at times, perhaps contrived but a pleasant way to spend an evening in a special venue like Victoria-by-the-Sea.


Off the Grid by John Spurway continues until September 5, 2021, at the Victoria Playhouse, Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island. Visit the company’s website: www.Victoriaplayhouse.com/

James Karas is the Senior Editor - Culture of The Greek Press
This review appeared first in The Greek Press.

Sunday, August 1, 2021


Reviewed by James Karas

Outside Mullingar is a funny, moving and intriguing play by John Patrick Shanley that receives a wonderful production by Theatre Baddeck in the village of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island. The author and the play may be familiar to many people but I suspect that the village and the theatre company do not claim the same renown. Perhaps I should admit my total ignorance of them and not presume to speak for others.

The play has four characters, the elderly Tony Reilly (Vince Carlin) and his son Anthony (Michael Peng), and Aoife Muldoon (Kathleen Sheehy) and her daughter Rosemary (Christy MacRae-Ziss). They live on adjoining cattle and sheep farms in Ireland and we meet them in December 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics where Ireland won three medals in boxing competitions, i.e., the Irish are tough fighters. It is just after the funeral of Chris Muldoon, Aoife’s husband.

The play has  a simple but beguiling plot with many tangents involving the conflict between the father and the son, the love of the land, concern about continuity after death, and most of all the relationship or lack thereof between Anthony and Rosemary.

Christy MacRae-Ziss and Michael Peng in Outside Mullingar. 
Photo by Hannah Ziss.  Copyright © 2021 Theatre Baddeck, All rights reserved.

Tony has a rocky relationship with his son who, he thinks, does not love the land or farming and is not worthy of inheriting the farm. He is thinking of giving the farm to his nephew who lives in America. Anthony at 42 has problems with his father and is incapable of having a relationship with a woman. Is he gay? Is he a virgin? What is his problem? I will not reveal it because trying to figure Anthony out is one of the play’s fascinations.

Rosemary is 35 years of age, attractive, perhaps vengeful, mysterious and probably  interested in Anthony. Their relationship dominates the play with its humour, humanity and indeed beauty. She is the strongest and most complex character in the play.

There is a scene in the play where Rosemary and Anthony confront each other. Director Douglas Beattie has them stand a few feet from each other as if their feet are nailed to the floor. The physical distance and immobility between them are emblematic of the emotional and psychological chasm that separates them. They do not move because they are locked in their own prisons and cannot reach out to each other. In the final scene, Rosemary manages to break free from her shackles and goes on the attack. She uses sound arguments and, in the end, her sexual attraction to get Anthony to notice her and break out of his own shell. A superb performance by MacRae-Ziss.

Kudos to the cast for their acting especially for delivering their lines with the musicality of the Irish accents. Carlin’s Tony is a crotchety old man who cannot get along with his son and has feelings of guilt about his wife. He sold the right of way to his farm to Muldoon who in turn gave it to Rosemary. It plays an important emotional and legal issue in the play. In the end Tony’s humanity coms forth and he reconciles with his son. A fine performance by Carlin.

Sheehy is very effective as the old Aoife who shows affection, strength and  worry as she approaches the end of her life. She delivers an Aoife as a tough old woman whose husband has just died and who knows that she will soon join him.

Peng as Anthony manages to look confused, painfully shy and a man with an embarrassing secret that dominates his life and lack of relationships with women. Can Rosemary take care of that?

Director Beattie does masterly work with the professional cast, paying attention to details and bringing forth a fine production.

Theatre Baddeck has been around since 2015 but it has been locked down for two years. It thrives in a village of 800 people and stages its shows in a large room in the Baddeck Masonic Temple. There are fewer than 100 seats in the theatre and about 30 people are allowed in due to the pandemic. Two more productions are scheduled for this year. How’s that for a village of 800 people?


Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley continues until August 7, 2021, at Theatre Baddeck, 24 Queen Street, Baddeck Nova Scotia. www.theatrebaddeck.com