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Transcript: Connie Meng Review aired Thursday, August 2, 2001

The Long Weekend

at Upper Canada Playhouse, Morrisburg, ON, Fri., July 27 through Sun., Aug. 12, 2001

THE LONG WEEKEND is another well-written and clever play by the prolific Norm Foster. Unfortunately the current production at Upper Canada Playhouse, directed once again by Donnie Bowes, doesn't do it justice. Of course there are some lines that are actor-proof, such as, "I know when someone's kissing me back. We men have a little alarm that goes off in our pants that says, 'We have ignition!'"

Speaking of actors, Edward Leefe needs to take a few deep breaths and relax. He's appeared in all three plays this season and has played all three characters the same - overly intense, hyperactive and belligerent. At times his speed and volume make him unintelligible. He begins the play so angry and with such ranting that he has no place to go.

To a certain extent the same could be said of Beverly Wolfe as Wynn. She too begins the play overly angry and speeding through the material. However, she gradually relaxes a bit and is much better in Act II.

Elizabeth Goodyear as Abbey and Garfield Andrews as Max actually do the play justice. They're both good actors who play their characters realistically, and they're both very funny. I was hoping to see Mr. Andrews in this more relaxed vein. He's a very accomplished comedian, and reminds me a bit of Cary Grant.

Director Donnie Bowes has instructed his cast to use phony clutching and grappling on all the embraces. What is his problem with realism? He also doesn't seem to have any sense of the play's flow. The second act moves much better than Act I, but it's primarily due to Mr. Foster's inventive writing.

Another thing - we've gotten tired of looking at the living room set that has been used for all three productions, with only changes of wall color and decoration. It also looks suspiciously like last season's set for THE COCKTAIL HOUR. At the very least the furniture positions could be varied. How about the couch stage right and the CHAIR center for a change? Alex Amini's costumes are fine, except for Wynn's Act I red dress. Ms. Wolfe is too small for such enormous shoulder pads.

This production is marginally better than the last, largely due to the acting of Ms. Goodyear and Mr. Andrews. The Upper Canada Playhouse production of THE LONG WEEKEND gets three apples. For North Country Public Radio, I'm Connie Meng.