I would imagine almost everyone knows that feeling when you walk into a live music venue and there’s a band playing that just totally blows your mind. That band has the skills, good songs, they look just like rock stars and you’re sold the moment you see them. Ghost Light Players production of The Drawer Boy last night was just like one of those rock star moments when everything just gelled.
Director Carol Reid scored a winner with her stunning version of Michael Healey’s play about a young actor who visits a small Ontario farm so he can learn what it’s like to be a farmer. He plans to use the information he’s gathered for an upcoming show, but what he learns gets really personal.
The Drawer Boy is a strong play that hits a multitude of emotions and is very crafted in the art of storytelling. To successfully pull off a good version of this 1970s tale, it takes a really strong cast to carry it through to the end.
Reid scored the motherload with the three gentlemen in this production. Jeremy Burke had the charm, quirkiness and charisma for Miles, the young actor – and his funky hair didn’t hurt. Chris Lanspeary was great as the snarky, smart ass farmer Morgan. He was so good that I had flashback memories of my father-in-law who’s a Saskatchewan farmer. I remember him teaching me about farming and cattle and the results were very similar to Miles experience.
By far and away the best part of the show was Dean Valentino who was phenomenal as Angus, Morgan’s friend since childhood. Angus has memory problems from an accident and doesn’t remember much, so he’s a little slower, but good hearted to the core. Valentino’s version of the character was bright, intelligent and literally took my breath away during a scene where his memory starts to come back and he breaks down. I can’t imagine the emotions Valentino had to conjure up for that scene alone.
Atellier Virginianne was a good venue for the show, giving the actors plenty of room in an indoor kitchen set, with lots of space to venture out to a front porch. The swinging porch door was put to great use.
While the play scores high points for its thoughtful story and nice set design, it really gets set apart from the rest because of its cast. Congratulations to Lanspeary, Valentino and Burke, who are hands down the finest cast assembled for any show in Windsor this year. We just need have audiences out there enjoying their wonderful performances.
The Drawer Boy continues tonight through Saturday and then every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in September (14-16, 21-23 and 28-30). Tickets are $25 at the door or 519 817-9176, 519 982 1291 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check it out on Facebook.