THUNDER BAY, ON --- April 11, 2012 -- What a great way to start off the weekend! I took in the Gala opening of Thunder Bay's Magnus Theatre’s latest production, “The Long weekend”.
It is obvious that my vision of a weekend at camp is different from Norm Foster. At our camp there is always so much work to be done that there is little time for personal friction between family members. In fact that is what is great about a camp, for over 50 years our family has grown stronger through the bonds we have made at the camp, often over hard work. My memories of the place centre around topics like the year we installed the septic system (by hand of course), or put in the lawn (after cutting down the trees, digging out the stumps, breaking up and sifting the soil and finally planting the grass, all of this was done by hand because there was no way to get equipment to our site.) Then there are the blackflies, occasional bear and the swims in the not always warm lake. When I think of camp sometime my back aches!
Norm Foster chose a summer cottage as the set for a summer visit between two married couples, supposedly long term friends. The owner of the cottage built the place for a bit of a summer refuge. Unlike our family he had the upscale place built for him. Scott Maudsley and Liz Gilroy play Wynn and Max Truman, the owners of the cottage. Wynn has invited her long time friend Abby (played by Jo-Ann Waytowich) and her husband Roger Nash (played by Danny Johnson) to the cottage for the weekend.
Norm Foster has a great understanding of human nature, and he has created characters who will share a weekend like no other at this cottage. Over time the two couples have also developed a lot of personal baggage. In true Foster style his story unfolds in a comic revelation of the bonds that hold these couples together.
The last play of this season is a great comedy, the audience lapped it up and everyone was in a good mood at intermission and even a better mood at the close of the show. I am used to seeing Danny Johnson as the music man in Magnus productions, so it was a surprise to see him in an acting role. It is probably one reason he is so great at the music role, he understands the workings of a play from the point of view of an actor, so he knows exactly what is needed musically and when. Thunder Bay’s very own Jo-Ann Waytowich delivers a stellar performance. It always seems that she is perfectly cast for the roles that I have seen her play and this production is no different.
Magnus Theatre is the home of professional theatre in Thunder Bay. It is easy to take the high standard of production for granted, but the theatre has always been very professional in everything from the pre-show atmosphere, to sets, lighting, technical aspects. These elements of a great theatre all work together to ensure that you their patrons have the best evening possible. I would not hesitate to recommend going to this production. It’s fun and will give you a new appreciation for what is good in life. The show runs till April 21st. Call the box office at 345 5552 for ticket information.
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com