Another late show review! oh well, at least I’m consistent. In your FACE, Ottawa weather patterns!
This one was a couple nights ago, and I was actually planning on doing something ELSE that same evening. But there was a thing, it was crowded, I was cold, and one thing being equal to another I thought, ‘Fuck it, the OLT is right down the street’, and I was off. The OLT being, of course, the venerable Ottawa Little Theatre, on the verge of making history with their One-Hundredth season of community theatre here in O-town, and more power to them. I darted on in to the biggest little theatre of them all, picked up a ticket (and compared cat photos with the lovely Kiersten Hanly, because why the Hell not?), and hustled up the stairs.
The show that evening was SELF HELP by playwriting machine Norm Foster, and if I’m not mistaken this is one of his…well, how else does one put it? One of his ‘zanier’ works, and happily, it DOES work. The story of two struggling actors, Hal and Cindy Savage (Dale MacEachern and Chantal Plante), who decide to ditch their workaday grind and live the high life, faking it to make it as a pair of self-help gurus spouting platitudes and nonsense to the adoring masses. The plan works like a charm and the pair end up living in the lap of luxury…but completely miserable with one another.
After a few introductory scenes, including a frankly perfect staging of the Savages working their stage mojo at a convention or workshop, or WHATEVER it is self-help ‘gurus’ do, we settle in to the meat of the plot, which as said is a fairly wacky affair involving a troublesome gardener, dim housemaid, and the most penis jokes this side of a Kevin Smith movie. All of it centers around Hal and Cindy, played wonderfully by MacEachern and Plante, who inhabit the endearing power couple with charm and relish. They make it very easy indeed to root for the Savages, even when things are at their weirdest and silliest. There’s solid supporting work all around them…Andrew Stewart as sneering reporter Andrew Cash, Ian Fraser as marvelously deadpan Detective Snow, Michele Snyder as brash agent Ruby Delvecchio, and Cindy Beaton (stealing scenes-a-plenty) as scatterbrained housemaid Bernice.
It ain’t a deep show, folks, but it IS a funny one, with lots of borderline farce action, satirical skewering of the self-help industry, and rapid fire double (and occasionally single) entendres flying all about the place. Really, it’s kind of hard NOT to like the show, and director Joan Sullivan-Eady gets props for keeping everything light, fast and fun. A silly good time out at the theatre, and what the Hell else do you want? She runs until April 7th, so plenty of opportunities to help yourself to some laffs. Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)