The Playhouse
in association with The Belfry Theatre
and with the support of
Western Gold Theatre

One Last Kiss
Book by Aaron Bushkowsky

Venue: The Vancouver Playhouse
Dates: 21 February - 20 March 2004

Reviewer: Jane Penistan



Director Roy Surette  Set and Costume design Pam Johnson Lighting design John Webber  Sound design Sarah Donald  Stage manager Jennifer Swan




One Last KissOne Last Kiss at the Playhouse is a dazzling display of talent.  The ornate golden frame to the acting area shimmers opulently before the house lights go down.  The set changing in this multi-scened play is accomplished without breaking the flow of the action by the skillful use of the stage revolve and film on the backdrop.  John Webber's lighting design has unobtrusively added to this smooth gliding from place to place and time to time.  The soundscape and the violin playing by Sarah Donald are integrated into this seamlessly.

Aaron Bushkowsky's comedy deals with generational misunderstanding, middle age problems and the hopes and fears of old age.   It is laced with humour, with witty lines and cynicism covering sadness and fear.

In the centre of the play is Lil, an acerbic wheel chair bound, elderly, widowed sculptor, whose youngest daughter has recently died.  She is moving in with her daughter Kathryn (Susan Hogan) and her recently retired husband Tony.  Tony, (Terry Kelly), is still finding his way to living without the routine of work and has taken up violin making from a kit, as a way of killing time. Kathryn is finding life dull and colourless.  She longs for a glamourous nonstop fashion filled life with lots of clothes and the attention of beauticians and spa care.  Her sister, Sue (Anna Hagan) is a business woman who has never married, but has had a teenage fling with Tony.  They still have an adult understanding.  As Lil sits dismally in the garden a golfing neighbour, Ben Hogan, appears in search of a lost ball.  Grant Reddick as Ben practises all his charm on Lil, but disappears as soon as one of her family appears.  Her children think she is


hallucinating. To the strains of a violin, there are flashbacks to a former age in Italy.  The nonagenarian, luthier Antonio Stradivarius, is still endeavouring to make the perfect instrument for his protégé, the brilliant violinist Lucio, really Lucia (Sarah Donald) who lives with Antonio (Antony Holland) and his wife Maria (Micki Maunsell).

In their advanced years, both Antonio and Maria are happily creative, she as a loving wife and caregiver, and he as a still spirited and mischievous instrument maker striving for perfection, both of them rejoicing in the youth and talent of Lucia.

Ben, who is a psychiatrist, as well as a golf aficionado, persuades Lil that life at her age is not over, that she is a creative artist and still capable of leading an active life.  Gradually her depression lifts, she abandons her wheel chair and together she and Ben show the children that old age is neither joyless nor loveless.  Kathryn and Tony are reunited for a happy future.  Antonio is the epitome of the enduring spirit of love and hope.

Deftly directed by Roy Surette One Last Kiss displays the high standard of acting this cast possesses.  All aspiring young actors should observe and learn from this production.

One Last Kiss runs at the Playhouse, Hamilton and Dunsmuir, February 21- March 20, 2004, Monday through Saturday at 8.00 p.m. with matinees on Saturdays and selected Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2.00 p.m. There are no shows on Sundays, Tuesday Feb. 24, Tuesday March 2 and Monday March 15. For more information, reservations and tickets telephone The Production Centre Audience Services, 604-873-3714, or visit

© 2004, Jane Penistan