Volume 94, Issue 42

Tuesday, November 14, 2000


Zuckerbaby's lessons for survival

Men of honour shows you the money

Disc of the Week

Script weakens cabin drama, North

Analysis well worth the laughs

Script weakens cabin drama, North

Photo by Shelley Long
MY DEAR! YOU LOOK JUST MARVELOUS IN FEATHERS. Actor Tom Rooney keeps his eye on co-star Holly Lewis in the latest Grand Theatre production,North.

Starring: Tom Rooney, Holly Lewis, Ray Bowen, Judith Hawking
Directed By: Kelly Handerek

By Dale Wyatt
Gazette Staff

In downtown London stands the majestic building known as the Grand Theatre. After a quick walk through large glass doors, the entire atmosphere changes, as everything from the well-dressed employees to the red cushioned seats, lend the place a touch of class.

Onstage inside, North, written by Canadian playwright Greg Nelson, seeks to take a deep look into the lives of four unique characters brought together on a vacation in the North.

It begins with the entry of a university professor, Tom (played by Tom Rooney) and his lover, Kitty (Holly Lewis). Tom quickly falls in love with the surroundings, while the fashion-forward city girl, Kitty, quickly becomes concerned about the nature of their visit and their surroundings.

Soon it's revealed that Tom's old friend, Charlie (Ray Bowen), whom he hasn't spoken to for 15 years, called and asked if he could pay a visit. After a brief meeting, they decide to have dinner with Charlie and his wife, Joan (Judith Hawking). The dinner consists mostly of the recollection of past stories and the consumption of considerable amounts of wine.

Although successfully and articulately acted, the first half of the play fails to grip the audience. Most of the dialogue is rather pointless and fails to support or advance the overall plot, leaving one to think the script lacks insight.

In the second half, the true nature of the trip becomes clear and Joan, who had remained quiet until this point, comes to life. She secretly meets with Tom, where she reveals the harsh reality of her secluded and abusive life. It's at this point that Tom is faced with his greatest problem and simultaneously, the play finally becomes interesting.

In the end, Tom lets his hubris blind him, as he fails to make the proper choices, causing his relationship and his immature view of what the north is to come crashing down upon him.

Stylistically, the elaborate set recreates the inside of an extravagant log cabin. Set behind the cabin is a large lake with huge trees shooting into the sky. The end result creates a believable setting which plays on memories and impressions one might have of the north.

Although the play does an interesting job of examining the common view that many Canadians share about the magic of the North, it falls short in the script department. Furthermore, the characters are all very typical – there's the troubled couple, the sexy and seductive woman, as well as the funny-but-not-so-bright main character.

Above all, North suffers from an overall lack of creativity. Had the actors been given a better opportunity, they would have no doubt shined, but despite their excellent acting potential, they can't save North.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000