THUNDER BAY, ON ----- April 14, 2011 ---- It was a cool and frosty evening when I drove by Magnus Theatre, Thunder Bay tonight, but inside the ample audience would be warming up to one of the funniest comedies the Theatre has recently presented. It is nice that the show is continuing to bring in a good house, the Friday night gala performance I attended was sold out.
Norman Foster is a veteran writer for the stage and he quickly exploits the minefield of possibilities of two older people falling in love. This is a genuinely funny show and there is so much comic material that even if you only hear half of what is being said there will be at least a good one- liner to send you home with a smile on your face.
Directed by Mario Crudo, he chose two well known actors to present this play. Jo-Ann Waytowich and Vince Metcalf have many Magnus productions to their credit. It is also nice to see Waytowich doing something other than her Ivanka routine. She is a great actress by all accounts but I can only wonder how much millage she can extract from her Ivanka role. One thing that I have learned about Jo-Ann is never to underestimate her. Just like when two people meet and fall in love, there is genuine stage chemistry between these two actors. They are comfortable working with each other and that chemistry translates into a superior production. Vince Metcalf and Jo-Ann Watowich live a life which is immersed in theatre. That is the same level of commitment to their art as our symphony musicians have, and their best reward is the audience approval with a prolonged ovation at the end of the performance.
Mario Crudo picked a winner with the cast and the play “Old Love” by Norman Foster. Both the playwright and the cast have a following in Thunder Bay and that naturally contributes to a healthy house. The last production of the regular season is perhaps the most important one for Magnus Theatre. It is the time of season when the Theatre is rolling out its promotional material and offering deals on season’s tickets for next season. Having a good production to finish the season is also a great way to launch the next season.
I have long since run out of good things to say about Magnus Theatre. There are so many soft touches that enrich the Theatre experience. Some of them begin before you even take your seat. On display in the lobby and hallways is art work by the Thunder Bay Watercolour Society. I like the time before the show begins to search out people that I may know, and also take time to soak up the ambience of the Theatre, and this includes the watercolours.
While this is the end of the regular season, Thunder Bay residents will get to see a post season production of “The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon” a great tale by W.O. Mitchell. This oiece of Canadiana will be performed by a host of Thunder Bay personalities. It will play from May 6th to 14th. For tickets to “Old Love” of the Bonspiel, call the Box office at 807-345-5552. Magnus Theatre is one of the things that makes living in Thunder Bay great, if you can take in a show.