NS reviews

Reviews of theatre and art in Nova Scotia and beyond

Where You Are makes Baddeck Where You Want to Be

Christy MacRae-Ziss as Suzanne and Mauralea Austin as Glenda in Theatre Baddeck’s production of Where You Are, to Sept. 25. (Hannah Ziss)

Canadian playwright Krista Da Silva’s comedy, Where You Are, is a picture of life and love to hold in your heart.

Running through Saturday at Theatre Baddeck, 24 Queen St., this drama about two retired sisters is set in a small Cape Breton community where neighbours help neighbours and people love to gossip.

Director Samantha Wilson has a dream cast expressing all the life force, playfulness and deep affection in this story as people learn to love where they are and those who are closest to them.

Christy MacRae-Ziss, most recently an angry, biting Irish red-head in Outside Mullingar, is now a sensuous blond, unrestrained and melodramatic. Suzanne has a fraught relationship with an annoying rooster and her daughter. She is highly critical of everyone.

Mauralea Austin is Glenda, the more straightforward, clear-headed sister, kinder but just randy as her sister. Both have a zest for life and a fondness for the tight butt of their young neighbour, the very handsome veterinarian Patrick, whom they press into service as a handyman.

The comedy, with a crackling pace, builds up to Suzanne’s daughter Beth’s visit and a plot to push her into the arms of the young vet.

Da Silva’s characters are strongly realized and their relationships ring true. The love among them, at least with this cast, is real and precious.

Sydney actor Shealyn Varnes vividly incarnates Suzanne’s daughter, a prudish though temperamental doctor easily outraged by her mother but not disinterested in Patrick, played by the lean Matthew Nette as a charming, goofy guy.

Shealyn Varnes as Beth and Christy MacRae-Ziss as her mother Suzanne. (Hannah Ziss)

Director Wilson amplifies the comedy with some great physical acting and keeps the poignant moments slower and sweeter, aided by set and lighting designer Garrett G. Barker’s sensitive, gentle lighting moving from night to day and back again. He highlights life at its most robust and most reflective.

Barker also designed a warm, homey set of the exterior of a cozy house with a great, worn screen door and a porch with posts (one gets in the way a bit when actors sit in front of it). Costume design including over-the-top party dresses and peacock feather earrings is by Sabrina Stace and sound by Alexander Sinclair with stage management by Sarah Blanchard

This is Theatre Baddeck second production of its 2021 season. Outside Mullingar, which closed August 7, sold out the last two weeks. There are still tickets available for Where You Are but they are going fast.

As a middle-aged woman, myself, who has not seen my sister in two years, has a kid away and is always aware of the fragile nature of life, Where You Are hit close to home. Da Silva tells a good story about everyday lives that will be familiar to many. She slowly unravels the details and the sources of conflicts and deep passions so this comedy is engaging and poignant.

For tickets (available for Friday and Saturday night) go to: www.theatrebaddeck.com or call 902-412-7122.

Categories: Uncategorized

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