Rod BeattieWestern Canada Theatre
Letter from Wingfield Farm by Dan Needles

Dates and Venue 13 - 22 October 2011 | Sagebrush Theatre, Kamloops, BC

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This one-man show by veteran actor Rod Beattie (inset photo, Wikipedia) delighted an almost full house audience last Monday October 17th at the artistically designed Sagebrush Theatre of Kamloops. The interior of the theatre reminds me of the River Rock Casino Theatre in Richmond. Beattie, who has been playing this role since the 1980s, won the 1991-92 Dora Mavor Moore award for his performance in these Wingfield plays.

It's truly amazing how Beattie held the audience at his grasp for almost two hours (with a 15 minute intermission). Normally, one-man or one-woman shows don't last this long. They usually go for 30 minutes, or one hour at the most.

Yet Beattie kept the audience laughing with farm humour, truly appropriate for farm folks living in this area. He plays the role of an accomplished industry man who decides to call it quits in the stock market rat race, and decides to move away from the big city to a farm. He buys a hundred acre farm, and gets to meet his zany neighbors whom he writes about in his letters to the editor of a small-town nespaper.

Beattie plays multiple roles: Jimmy the Irish farmer, Freddie, Don, Squire and others (including his fam animals) to the delight of the audience. What versatility!

Playwright Needles spent his childhood in the city (probably Toronto) and also in the family farm in Rosemont, Ontario. After university, he worked as the editor of a local newspaper where he created the character of Walt Wingfield, a retired stockbroker turned farmer who writes letters to the editor.

This is a brilliantly acted play by Beattie, and so, folks, if you're in the Kamloops area,you must see the play. I guarantee that you'll surely get your money's worth laughing at every letter Beattie interprets!

© 2011 Ed Farolan