The Birds and The Bees – Blyth

Written on June 30th, 2016

Sexy After 60

Want a fun night out for you and your 60-plus friends?  Go to the Blyth Festival where The Birds and The Bees is now on stage.  The laughs come one right after another in this comedy that covers sex and then romance for the somewhat older crowd.

Birds and Bees NoraI can’t reveal too much of the plot for fear of spoiling it.  A 60-something woman, who is a beekeeper, has her life disrupted when her 37 year old daughter leaves her husband and their turkey farm and moves back in with Mom.  Mom also deals with a somewhat curmudgeonly neighbouring farmer who rents her land.  And into this comes an annoying University of Guelph student to do research on her bees that are dying off.

Strathroy folks will recognize a tribute to their Turkeyfest, as the characters take part in the final Turkey Days, reacting differently to the Turkey Days dance from their different viewpoints.

Playwright Mark Crawford has packed the show with witty dialogue, resulting in many laugh-out-loud moments.  In fact, you can miss the next punch line while you’re still laughing at the last one. Crawford, originally from Glencoe, Ontario has capitalized on his small town upbringing to create comedies that the rural audience loves and recognizes.  His Stag and Doe was a hit at Blyth in 2014 and has been produced across the province since then.

Nora McLellan, a brilliant force on stages across Canada, plays Gail, the mother whose life takes a sudden turn.  McLellan is a master of comedy with perfect timing.  Just when you think she can’t be any funnier, she gets enormous laughs with only a look.  Marion Day as Sarah, the daughter whose life also isn’t unfolding as planned is very well cast.  We feel her frustration having spent her life artificially inseminating turkeys, but is unable to have a baby herself.  John Dolan, as the neighbour, Earl, is hilarious as he makes the effort to move away from his favourite briefs – the not-so-tightie whities.  Christopher Allen as Ben, the university student, creates comedy with his lack of confidence.  The four have great onstage chemistry and work well together.Birds and Bees Marion

But while the characters are all a little bit crazy, Crawford has made them very recognizable.  We become charmed by them and want the best for each of them.  The fact that they say and do funny things is a bonus.  Credit goes to director Ann Hodges for not going over the top and keeping them familiar.

So, at the Blyth Festival, Mark Crawford is two for two – both this year’s The Birds and The Bees and 2014’s Stag and Doe have been hits.  And so far this year, Artistic Director Gil Garratt is two for two – this hit, The Birds and The Bees, follows closely the very successful Our Beautiful Sons.

The Birds and The Bees continues at the Blyth Festival in repertoire until August 6.  Call 519-523-9300 / 1-877-862-5984 or go to for tickets.

Photo: Left: John Dolan as Earl and Nora McLellan as Gail.  Right: Christopher Allen as Ben and Marion Day as Sarah.  Photos by Terry Manzo.

The Birds and The Bees
By Mark Crawford
Directed by Ann Hodges
Performed by Christopher Allen, Marion Day, John Dolan, Nora McLellan
Blyth Festival, Blyth
June 24 to August 6, 2016
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

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