Tomorrow night I’m going to the Opera with one of the most beautiful women in the city. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would type in a non-fictional milieu. But I’m actually not making it up and, as such, can only assume that tomorrow night I’ll be living someone ELSE’S life. So I had better get cracking and write this, one of my first biggie show reviews of the spanking new 2012-13 Theatre season, before Cinderella time chimes and I turn into this suave, opera-going motherfucker I seem destined to become.
Happily, there was no suave-ing on my part tonight…tonight, I was ALL BUSINESS, folks. Did my day of drudgery (where I’m now finally the dad-blasted kitchen manager, no big), hustled home to Winston for some Pho with dumplings, a quick Podcast-pimping post, and away I went. Off by the magic of busses to the Gladstone Theatre, for their triumphant return to a full season of programming after a couple of shorter mini-seasons. Tonight’s premiere was courtesy of 730 Productions, and is part one of what I assume is a fairly unprecedented 2-month double-header of shows, at two different theatres, by two different theatre COMPANIES, from playwright Marie Jones and director John P.Kelly. I know…awesome, right? Late next month it’ll be FLY ME TO THE MOON at the GCTC, but tonight it was STONES IN HIS POCKETS at the Gladstone.
The show, set in Ireland on a big budget film set, follows Jake Quinn (Richard Gelinas) and Charlie Conlon (Zach Counsil) who are working as extras for the big production. The pair become friends, hopeful actor Jake meshing nicely with would-be writer Charlie. The action start off with some amiable fish-out-of-water adventures, as Jake and Charlie interact with the gruff director, Hollywood crew, and sexy diva starlet, not to mention Jake’s myriad relatives on and off set. Quite a cast of characters come and go through the scenes, each last one played by Counsil or Gelinas. And you’d be mightily hard-pressed, I say, to find more talented or wunnerful lads for the job.
Coming off their team-up as the entire supporting cast of THE 39 STEPS last season, Ottawa’s own Dynamic Duo have upped the ante for this one. The laughs are plenty, and they’re loud, amidst a constant chorus of giggles that I pretty much never stopped hearing from a clearly delighted audience. If you don’t laugh when Zach Counsil, as the sultry Caroline Giovanni, tries to seduce Jake, you might as well just give up on having fun right now, because you don’t know how to do it. And when the show takes a dark turn halfway through, it sets the stage for a seriously strong second act. Richard and Zach are two of the best actors in this town, and they prove it a hundred times over in STONES.
This is balls-out fun theatre, folks, from seriously talented mooks. I’ll leave it to the audience to decide how well the lads do with their myriad of Irish accents (tho the Irish Ambassador was in attendance tonight, and loved it, so take that into account), and I’m also curious to know if anyone else thinks Richard Gelinas’ flamboyant assistant director character isn’t just him doing a Stewart Matthews impression.
It was a great night out, and it was good to see many familiar faces back at the ‘Stone, including Kate Smith, Smooth Tim Oberholzer, Will Somers, the ICB…everyone! Glad to be back at the Gladstone, and especially glad it was such a jolly joyful show as this. Peace, love and slainte,
The Visitor (and Winston)