Tanner Zerr as Sufferton in Reflections on Crooked Walking photo: Emily Cooper

Firehall Arts Centre

Ann Mortifee’s Reflections on Crooked Walking

When & Where December 2 - 24, 2023, Tues -Sat at 7:30pm, matinees on Sat & Sun at 3pm & PWYC on Tuesday at 7:30pm & Wednesday at 1pm | Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E. Cordova Street

Director Donna Spencer Musical Director Jane Milliken Choreography Joe Laughlin Costume Design Barbara Clayden Lighting Design Ted Roberts
Performers Meghan Gardiner, Jesse Lipscombe, Evelyn Chew, Sanders Whiting, Jennifer Lynch, Tanner Zerr, Jeffrey Follis, Daune Campbell, MarijaDanyluk, Ted Angelo Ngkaion, Matheus Severo and Joelle Wyminga.

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

Reflections on Crooked Walking is striding the boards again. Originally introduced to Vancouver audiences in 1982 at the Arts Club on Granville Island Reflections on Crooked Walking has returned to delight audiences, this time at the Firehall Arts Centre. Directed by Donna Spencer, who commented in her opening remarks that “this is a big production for us,” the Firehall was definitely up to the task of mounting the production.

Written by Ann Mortifee, who played the role of Opia in the original production,Reflections on Crooked Walking is a feel good story taking the audience on a journey of life’s ups and downs and doubts. The soundtrack is a huge part of why this production resonates with an audience. It adds to the magic and fantasy of the storyline with its diverse and innovative scores. The musicians, Rene Worst, Buff Allen and Daniel Alt really put out a big sound that filled the stage.

Working with a two level set the story unfolds with Madame Opia (Meghan Gardiner) and Doorman (Jesse Lipscombe) plotting to manipulate the townspeople. The townspeople have all fallen into a mysterious sleep except for 4 characters who go on a magical journey to find the cure. Gabby (Evelyn Chew), Reverend Blinkers (Sanders Whiting), Feathertoes (Jennifer Lynch) and Sufferton (Tanner Zerr) with their different personality traits help each other to find the clues and eventually the cure.

It is a musical full of fanciful costumes, toe tapping music, laughter and a touch of sadness as it winds its way to a heartfelt conclusion. The actors worked their own magic crafting characters that the audience could really believe in.

Many actors from the original production of Reflections on Crooked Walking were in the audience on opening night. Their presence is a reflection of the impact Ann Mortifee’s musical has had on Vancouverites. I, for one saw it twice in the ‘80’s with my kids and didn’t want to miss this opportunity to see it again. It is wonderful entertainment for all ages.

© 2023 Nancie Ottem