Opening Night by Norm Foster

Dates and Venue 3 April - 1 May 2010 | Metro Theatre, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

I once commented when I reviewed another Norm Foster show either at the Arts Club or at the Metro that this playwright is the Neil Simon of Canada. After seeing this play, I changed my mind and would rather say now that Neil Simon is the Norm Foster of the United States. Indeed, this play surpasses any of Neil Simon's comedies. Practically every line spoken by the actors gets a guffaw or a giggle from the audience.

I'll never miss another Norm Foster comedy when it comes to town. You're sure it's going to be loads of fun. Kudos to Director Mark Carter for picking the right actors for the parts. Tim Vant was hilarious as the director on the edge, reminding me of Gene Wilder when he goes into hysterics.

Caitlin Clugston as Cilla complemented Vant exceedingly well in her role as the jealous girl friend. Kari-Ann Wood was the supposedly dumb blonde but was in fact a conniving and ambitious woman using her guiles to get the parts she wanted.

David Wallace as the old-fashioned actor played his part with elan. Martin Hallat as the young and upcoming actor was funny particularly when he takes over the role of Kari-Ann as she literally freezes doing her scene. Patrick Maloughney as the has-been actor who tries to make his comeback was just fabulous, getting the audience laughing their hearts out as he recites Shakespeare and usurps the part of Ol' Daddy from Wallace as he succumbs to his third nervous breakdown.

And last but not least were Helen Volkow and Pat McDermott playing a middle-aged couple celebrating their 25th anniversary as they go through the events of rhe opening night of the play, getting laughs at almost every line of their dialogues.

Carter's use of actors coming in through the aisles was truly effective, as well as turning the houselights on and off as the actors would look at the audience and talk to them.

This is one of the best Metro comedies I've seen so far. Be sure not to miss this show which closes May1st. You won't regret it!

© 2010 Ed Farolan