The Affections of May by Norm Foster

Dates and Venue 10 January – 7 February 2009 @ 8pm (Matinees on Sunday @ 2pm) | Metro Theatre

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Norm Foster is known as the Neil Simon of Canada; but actually, it should be the other way around: Neil Simon is the Norm Foster of the US. There is something more interesting, more in-depth about the comedy of Foster which makes it truly Canadian, as compared to the Jewish humour of comic playwright Simon.

What makes this comedy different is it starts off as a tragedy when May's husband, Brian, leaves her for another woman. But then, as the play progresses, comedy sets in. Just looking at Don McKay who plays Hank is already comedic. There's a naturally humorous charisma about him. Add to this the fact that he comes in with a Bunny costume in one scene with a carrot sticking out of his stomach.

Brian (Michael Weir) plays the bad guy, the husband who leaves his wife for another woman, and isn't funny at all. There are a few quips in his lines which get a laugh or so, but all in all, we're not sympathetic to him. I like Weir's acting, though. He's got a resonant voice and stage presence.

On the other hand, Matthew Thiessen as Quinn, the guy May falls in love with, lacks charisma and stage presence. I could hardly hear him, and I was sitting in the sixth row. He spoke too fast and too soft, and that's okay in movies but not on stage. I had the feeling that he just wasn't in the mood to act during last Sunday's matinee performance. It was like he was in a hurry to finish the play and go home. He wasn't even holding his lines for laughs.

Lisa Dery as May was fabulous. I enjoyed every second of her performance. She was funny, she emoted, she was full of energy, and her projection was excellent. Now here is a stage actress if you want to see a real one.

I liked the background music, some of those oldies but goodies from Sinatra and other balladeers of the last century; the set was also excellent. I've always admired the sets designed by Metro. Congrats to Dwayne Campbell for this. And naturally, to Director Nicky Anderton who did a fantastic job putting this play together.

© 2009 Ed Farolan