Waterfront: The Blessing (Les Nouvelles Theatre) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Waterfront: The Blessing may not be a family show but it is definitely a show about family. In particular, it is about the lifelong relationships of siblings. I would recommend anyone who has had to deal with family rivalry and death to see Les Nouvelles Theatre’s Waterfront: The Blessing at this year’s SummerWorks. It is a very relatable show.

Leah Jane Esau has written a two hander and we get to meet brothers Jeremy and Ed directly following the death of their father. Despite a water influenced theatrical device (used for changes of scene and thought) this show is very down to earth. It is impossible not to get drawn into the relationship of these brothers. Myself, I have two siblings and I felt it impossible not to reflect on my relationships with both throughout this piece.

Robert Fulton plays the straight man of Jeremy, the brother who did everything “right” but could never win the approval of his dad. It’s not easy playing a by the book type of guy but Fulton brings a dry humour to the role mixed with a sweet vunerabilty. Much as he tries to move on and stay focused both with his life and the task at hand, he is frustrated and hurt by his brother’s choices and lies. It is impossible not to be sympathic here as Fulton has a true and relatable talent. He is that guy you know. The one who is trying to have a good life despite his screwy family.

William MacDonald’s Ed is the only other one still living in that screwy family and he plays the role perfectly. He is the guy you would love to go on a bender with but would never trust to water your plants. Ed has a shady past but claims to have turned his life around. He has lots of ideas on how to make money but hasn’t yet made any. He brings a great amount of rural Canadian weatheredness to the role. I found myself guessing just what Ontario waterfront they were actually on. My money is on Bracebridge.

Amanda Lockitch’s direction is really to credit for the way the show feels so naturally paced. It is a show about relationship and the power balance of the two brothers shifts seamlessly back and forth like smooth see saw. I loved Nancy Perrin’s set design as well – you could almost smell the yellowed stacks of newspapers and the darned socks of the elderly man who lived in the space.

This is a show that shouldn’t be missed, especially if you’ve experienced a death and family’s power struggle in its aftermath. It may just be the most sincere show you’ll see this summer. The ending is pretty cool too.

Factory Theatre Mainspace, 125 Bathurst St.

Monday August 8th 7:30 PM
Thursday August 11th 5:00 PM
Friday August 12th 10:00 PM
Saturday August 6th 5:00pm

-All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows