Theatre Aquarius opens a new season with Norm Foster’s Renovations For Six directed by Ron Ulrich who has amassed a great cast. The set designed by Sean Mulcahy perfectly depicts a home under renovation. Renovation is a term that we discover later is a metaphor for the three couples’ lives who all have secrets and troubled relationships.
The set designed by Sean Mulcahy is a perfect depiction as home under renovation and is used as the same home setting for each couple which was a little confusing for some audience members as not even a piece of furniture was changed, perhaps to keep the fast pace moving along and as this is quite a wordy show. Ulrich certainly did that. Having said that the first act was a little slow, but I think that was in the writing essentially, setting us up for Act 2.
The show opens in the home of Grant and Shayna Perkins who have recently moved here from Vancouver for Grant’s job as manager of a furniture store. This forced Shayna to give up her Pilates business. She would like to restart it but needs to build her client base. She would also dearly like to get pregnant but Grant is not ready. We get the impression that their relationship is under great strain and not just with the home renovations. Shayna comes up with the idea of a small drinks party as a start for building her business and that they can each invite one other couple. Shayna is played with warmth and sensitivity by Kelly Van der Burg. We feel for her as she deals with her troubled marriage. Her husband Grant performed by Amos Crawley with just the right amount of arrogance, he actively encourages his staff to call him “Mr. Perkins”.
Shayna invites Veronica Dunn–Dudet a psychiatrist from her book club and her husband Maurice who has given up his full–time job to write a novel that he eventually reveals is about their son. Yet another couple with angst. Carmen Grant is a very glamorous psychiatrist playing her with great style. We first meet her and her husband Maurice in their home that is under renovation with Veronica chiding Maurice about his slow progress with his book. We sense that all is not well with them either. David Keeley’s Maurice becomes a warmer character as the story develops and we have appreciation of his love for his son. Grant has invited his top salesman Wing Falterman and his musical artist wife Billie. Falterman is wonderfully played by Ian D. Clark as the aging salesman who reveals his love of and pride in his work. He and his wife Billie speculate why they have been invited by “Mr. Perkins”. Is it to be fired? Starring alongside him as Billie is show–stealer Mary Long. Her comic timing is a lesson in comedic acting alone. She delivers her lines so naturally and she and Clark got well–deserved applause for their dance routine.
There are many laughs in this show, but a little bit too much angst if you are looking for a light evening or afternoon’s entertainment. However, Norm Foster is a much–loved Canadian playwright and the show is sure to do well. V
RENOVATIONS FOR SIX
by Norm Foster
Sept. 26th – Oct. 5th, 2019
@ Theatre Aquarius.
190 King William St., Hamilton.
tix: (905) 522—7529