Volume 95, Issue 13

Friday, September 21, 2001
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Smooth ride to Oklahoma!

Contantines feed on Indie success

Michel's sad and beautiful word


Smooth ride to Oklahoma!

Love story with good ol' country feel

By Dale Wyatt
Gazette Staff

Everything sure is going the cast's way in the riveting theatrical production of Oklahoma!

This boisterous love story, set against a colourful backdrop of rivalry between local farmers and cowboys is a triumphant tale sure to captivate the attention of any audience.

It is by no means a simple story. This play is comprised of many unique and interesting plots intricately woven together. The end result is a fantastic adventure into the good ol' days your grandpa told you about when you were a child.
Each story revolves around what begins as a seemingly non-existent relationship between a cowboy named Curly and a farm girl named Laurey. Together, they overcome a roller-coaster ride of events and emotions, managing to find love and peace with each other.

The lead male protagonist opens the play with an enthralling rendition of "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," a song that reappears sporadically throughout the production.

Lauren Starr/Gazette

Bill Whitwham, as Curly, does an outstanding job at looking, talking and playing into authentic western stereotypes. Everything from his cowboy boots to the sash tied loosely around his neck help the audience forget where they actually are.

Whitwham successfully draws the viewer in through his body language, strong voice and fantastic facial expressions. By doing so, he enables the audience to witness his character's sincerity firsthand. There is not much development in his character, but Whitwham keeps the crowd satisfied.

The female lead, Laurey, played by Kira Stuckey, is equally strong in many regards. However, her beautifully soft voice can, at times, get lost in the music when she goes for a high note.

Adding strength and diversity to this already powerful lineup are eight other individuals.

Simon Goodwin, as Ali Hakim, provides the audience with strong doses of humor and wit as a man who constantly finds himself in trouble with women and their gun-toting fathers.

Gino Ianni plays the lonely and vengeful Jud Fry, he adds the essential amount of creepiness necessary to thicken the plot. His character undergoes the most development and Ianni portrays this well.

The chorus is also very strong. At times, the music gets loud but never to the point where it's unbearable. The score is well-played and clearly conveys the feeling of a particular character or scene.

The only obvious weakness is found in a number of the cast ensemble dance sequences. At times, the cast was out of step with the music and each other, creating a few jumbled collages of bodies.

A great thing about the Talbot Theatre is the absence of bad seats. The small, cozy atmosphere helps to create a better connection between the audience and cast.

The set itself is simple and effective. To the left is an ordinary wooden porch, complete with squeaky door hinges that give off a hearty country feel.

Most of the action however, takes place front and centre before a beautiful corn field. The white backdrop changes colour to signify the passage of time.

When the lights come on at the final curtain, you will not be upset you spent money to see this play. You can expect however, your hands to hurt from clapping.

Oklahoma! starts tonight at the Talbot Theatre. For show times and ticket info, call the Grand Theatre box office at (519) 672-8800.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2001