Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review: (Vancouver) Harvest

(photo credit: David Cooper)
The actors are first rate
But nothing really happens
by David C. Jones
Allan and Charlotte are longtime farmers in the Village of Midway in the Kettle Valley who have decided the sell the farm and buy a condo.

They are a sweet and funny couple correcting each other’s remembrances and cracking wise and chuckling at their own jokes. They are industrious and hardworking. Not particularly dynamic or action oriented.

Ken Cameron has written a show mostly in first person narrative, the characters speak directly to the audience. There is something very homey and charming about this approach. He has also added some fun theatricality by having them act out the other characters that intersect their lives. They often swap playing the same character by switching glasses or hats.

The problem is nothing happens for a really long time, they are mostly chatting.

In Act One they rent their home to a young man who is clearly lying to them. Act Two they basically learn that there is mould in their house that may or may not be dangerous.

Charlotte and Allan have apparently never read a newspaper, watched TV or lived through the 60’s. So there are things they can’t comprehend or have ever considered like marijuana, grow ops and how to talk to Gays. It takes them forever to figure things out and when the do they have to reiterate it back and forth to each other.
They are also alternately really resourceful or really naïve depending on what will serve the story best.

Eilleen Barrett and David Mann are both very good actors and they bring depth and variety of characters to life. There is a clever scene where Mr. Mann plays four different church ladies having a conversation with the aid of a pink scarf. Ms. Barrett brings great emotional depth to her portrayal and is alive in each moment as she navigates with honesty some pretty contrived moments.

The backdrop of the story is how rural Canada is being bought out and farmers are going bankrupt and Mom & Pop insurance companies are now all subsidiaries of big city banks.  The story we got was how this old couple doesn’t know what Mary Jane or Ganga is and when they do learn about it they do very little about it.

Charming , well acted but not much of a story.

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