The Arts Club Theatre Company
It's Snowing on Saltspring
by Nicola Cavendish

Venue: Granville Island Stage
Dates: 27 November - 31 December 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan


 


Director Rick Rinder Costume design Phillip Clarkson Set design Ted Roberts Lighting design Marcia Sibthorpe Sound design John McCulloch Stage manager Chris Allan 
 


Bill Millerd's 40th Anniversary Season contains several remounts of previous favourite shows. It's Snowing on Saltspring is one of these, a Yuletide fable for adults, now running merrily at the Granville Island Stage. Nicola Cavendish's original script has some topical updates, but otherwise remains the same broad humoured entertaining presentation.

Ted Roberts' Advent calendar decoration of the proscenium arch is a delight with its illuminated opening windows. The first act is set in a pre-Christmas living room, just cluttered enough, and the second act in Santa Claus' dispatch department is a wonderful amalgam of toys, decorations and lights, with a conveyor belt delivering gift-wrapped parcels to a sleigh. What a dreamland for a middle-aged, disenchanted man to come to in!

Marcia Sibthorpe's lighting enhances every scene. Phillip Clarkson's costumes are both in keeping with the Saltspring Island home of Sarah and Bill Bannister, and gorgeously colourful in the dream fantasy. Bernice Snarpley's cowgirl ensemble is a startling contrast to the neighbourhood's customary rather staid fashion.

Rick Rinder's first direction for the Arts Club has produced a lighthearted, happy and fast moving show, with well-defined characters.

 

 

 

 

As the very pregnant Sarah Bannister, Jennifer Clement is the long suffering and seldom complaining wife of chauvinistic, unthinking dentist, Bill, played with panache by Bob Frazer. These two actors work well together and are totally believable. Sarah arouses everyone's sympathy - yet she never misses the humour of the lines or her situation. Suzie Payne is a sympathetic Marti Kane and an energetic Mrs. Claus. Stephen Miller is exuberant both as The Reverend Chris Kane and as the skiving-off-work Santa Claus. Patti Allan is a caricature both as the outrageous Bernice Snarpley and the pig-faced unpleasant Grindle.

Bob Frazer 's disillusioned dentist, his enjoyment of his dream and his reawakening to the reality of living life, are well and credibly performed.

This energetic romp with its underlying messages is a suitably seasonal entertainment, and very enjoyable

Its Snowing on Saltspring runs at the Granville Island Stage November 27 - December 31, 2003 at 8.00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, reservations and tickets telephone 604-687-1644 or visit www.artsclub.com.

2003, Jane Penistan

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