Pacific Theatre


by Larry Shue


Until May 9th, 1998

Tickets: (604) 731-5518


by Ed Farolan

Dirk Van Stralen is as good as his cartoons. He’s funny. And he had the audience roaring with laughter with his nerdy antics. His cartoon in this week’s Georgia Straight reflects the kind of humour that he shows in The Nerd: “Dad, if there’s enough food in the world, how come thousands starve to death everyday?” And the father answers: “It’s because McDonald’s hasn’t reached everywhere yet.”

THE NERD opens with a quiet birthday party for Wilum Cubbert (Kerry VanderGriend) until Rick Steadman (Van Stralen) shows up. Rick is The Nerd: the obnoxious type you can’t stand, and yet Willum feels guilty because Rick saved his life during the Vietnamn War. He stays with him for a week until Willum can’t stand him anymore, and...see for yourself because what happens in the second act is silly, preposterous and hilarious. Hats off to the comic genius of Larry Shue!

The play also features Pacific Theatre’s Managing Artistic Director Ron Reed who plays theatre critic Axel Hammond. His nine year old daughter Katie Reed plays the naughty Thorina Waldgrave, making her Pacific Theatre mainstage debut together with Lisa Benner as Tansy McGinnis, Willum’s fiancee. Also adding spice to this outrageous comedy is Donna-Lea Ford as the saucer-breaking Clelia Waldgrave and her loud-voiced mean husband Warnock Waldgrave played by Francis Boyle who is remembered for his role as Jack in Navy Wife, and also as the best man, Barry Wheeler, in Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding.

Tom Carson, Artistic/Administrative Associate of Youtheatre in Montreal, makes his Vancouver directing debut in this play. In his programme notes, he admits to being a nerd: “It was impossible for me not to look inward while working on some of the scenes...I couldn’t bear to watch.”

Lighting Designer Des Price had some interesting and creative spotlights at centrestage when the actors had monologues, as well as some scenes when an image of a clown would show on the door, or together with Stephen Bulat’s sound effects, produce light scenarios to frighten mischievous little Thorina.

Copyright 1998 Ed Farolan