THUNDER BAY, ON - December 1, 2009 - I am a couple of days late with this review, but it is for a good reason. A couple of times a season I will review an event and the performance is so extraordinary that there simply isn’t much left to say that would do it justice. Usually these are music performances, but in this case I am talking about Magnus Theatre’s current production Robert More/Tom Doyle musical Dads 2: The Toddler’s Revenge.
What left me in awe was the pure amount of talent on stage. The actors were called to do it all, sing, dance, as well as act. In addition to these requirements they needed to be pretty good quick change artists as well!
There is something magic that happens when the best begin to work with the best, and the percolator that is Magnus Theatre has brewed up one heck of a show. The best not only applies to the on-stage personnel which would have to include Thunder Bay’s own Danny Johnson as music director, the actors, Amos Crawley, Vince Metcalf, Jay T. Schramek, and Leisa Way, and the entire off stage cast featuring Mary Long as guest Director. Schramek doubled as choreographer for the production, Pascal Turmel designed the lighting, set design by Bruce Repei, Mervi Agrombar was costume co-ordinator, and stage manager Gilliam Jones must have helped with the fast changes behind the scenes.
The show is a light hearted musical of how the lives of three stay at home dads change with the arrival of their second child. This is a subject with endless depth for a playwright, but being a musical the whole event is kept light hearted, the action on stage keeps things moving along nicely. The music touches a number of popular styles from a little bit classical to Presley impersonation, and hard rock. There is even an impressive bit of rap in this production. Like a bunch of kids in the sand box playing these actors get right into the play, and they make it work.
If there is a weak spot in the performance it is the fact that this is not a great musical and now that I have digested it for a couple of days I cannot remember a single tune from the show. Had the production be a musical by Rogers and Hammerstein, I would have remembered the music! Having said that this work is a successful theatre piece and a night spent listening to this production will be a great night out because of the cast, the crew and our very own professional theatre, Magnus.
Shown in this picture is Amos Crawley and Leisa Way, the production makes use of puppets to portray the antics of the children. This has real advantages over using children for those parts. The stamina required to work this play is beyond what could be expected from a child. This cast and crew are masters at their craft.
Dads 2 runs from November 26th to December 12, for tickets call the box office at 345-5552 for more information. This is a long production so if you go tell the baby sitter you won’t be home before 11:00 pm.
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com