By Dave Ferguson
As the lights come up, revealing the inside of a country home in various states of disrepair, a hand grasps the top of the couch from behind. The audience doesn’t know what to expect as the groans of agony increase while the person continues to pull themself up. Carolyn Bingham, played convincingly by Molly Kidder, now completely facing the audience, reveals her very pregnant body and is in the throes of labour.
We know from the meticulously set table in the rustic kitchen that a meal might be taking place while we may become witness to a birth.
Carolyn, played by Molly Kidder, has moved back into the family farm joined by her Quebecois boyfriend Michel (Matt Gorman) and her Grandpa Russell (John Turner). As the curtain rises we find Carolyn nearing the end of her pregnancy and awaiting the arrival of her parents for dinner.
This olive branch of a meal has to be just perfect in order to appease her well to do parents in an effort to mend broken bridges with her Mother Jane (Janet Monid) and Father (Terry Barna). The calamity comes when Carolyn’s father, the head of obstetrics at an area hospital, and her mother, who has raised over $2 million for that same hospital and can throw one hell of a dinner party, discover that their daughter wishes to give birth at home.
“Having Hope at Hope” provides dual meaning, as there is hope that a once disjointed family can come together over dinner and resolve all the past that has been hiding under the carpet for years. "Hope" also turns out to be the name of the newly delivered baby.
The one liners delivered by Russell (John Turner), a seemingly grumpy Grandpa who is ready to join his belated wife Lorna with her rhubarb pie, add a lot of levity during the play and quite honestly steal the show.
Simon Joynes has done yet another great job as the Director making sure all the pieces of this play written by playwright David S. Craig remain glued together.
Dariusz Korbeil's set design is a flawless rendition of a farmhouse at various states of repair, with the weathered wall paper and exposed insulation, and even right down to the coloured fabric thrown over the lamp as Carolyn is about to give birth.
I’m sure most will relate to some of the messages this play delivers. About patching up family relationships before it is too late. About having the members of your family take part in their children’s lives as they begin their own family. Or simply about escaping your own world to have a lot of laughs during an excellent play.
“Having Hope at Home” runs from July 25th to August 11th and is, yet again, another must see play put on by the Port Stanley Festival Theatre.
Check out the website www.portstanleytheatre.ca for showtimes. "Having Hope at Home" was written by David S. Craig. Stay tuned for more of Dave's reviews of upcoming shows at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre.
Photos by Relish Elgin.