Review: Acting is reason enough to see Harvest
Going to have to rely on the Heather-o-meter to do this review.
My theatre buddy, Heather Bain, didn’t laugh as hard at Harvest as she did at Thunderstruck, but that’s because the Ken Cameron play chosen to open this year’s Western Canada Theatre season isn’t that kind of play.
Harvest isn’t chock-a-block full of humour but, rather, tells a sweet, engaging and funny story that had Heather — who I have used for years as my gauge on the level of humour in a play — laughing a lot.
I, however, was transfixed not by the laughter but by the amazing pair of actors performing the play at Pavilion Theatre.
They were giving a clinic in how, with just a change in voice or a twitch of the facial features, an audience can be tricked into believing that same actor had just taken on another character’s role.
Norma Bowen’s challenged to go from playing the wife of the couple who unwittingly rent their farmhouse to a young man who turns it into a marijuana grow-op to the immigrant male neighbour to the tenant to a policeman.
Not to be outdone, Brian Linds also takes on those same roles in scenes where the characters must interact with Bowen as the wife.
In one particularly awesome scene, Linds plays three women churchgoers surrounding Bowen’s character and expressing their opinions in a rapid pace.
Linds accomplishes this through posture and intonation — and we all believed his multiple characters, even when they were talking one after the other as Bowen sat there.
It’s an amazing skill, one that goes to the very heart of acting, when two accomplished actors can take the audience along without the benefit of a large cast and loads of scene and costume changes.
They did it with some hats, some jackets and a couple of pairs of sunglasses.
Even when they were tossing the police hat or the glasses to each other during the scene, it didn’t take on a Keystone Kops feel — it was the kind of solid, quality acting that takes the audience along for the ride.
And, even when their own interpretations of tenant Ron or the police officer were different, we all still knew exactly who those characters were.
That’s amazing acting.
The only moment that seemed completely off to me came toward the end, ironically when a third actor joined the story for a few minutes.
I would have preferred to see that conversation with Linds in his husband/landlord role take place without the character sharing the spotlight.
WCT has opened it past few seasons at Pavilion Theatre, each time with small casts.
It’s a gutsy move because the Lorne Street theatre doesn’t have the most comfortable chairs and it can sometimes be hot — but it’s also a perfect venue to highlight actors and their crafts.
Harvest does just that.
It continues to Sept. 29. Tickets are at the Kamloops Live Box Office, 1025 Lorne St., 250-374-5483, kamloopslive.ca.