Chronicles of Sarnia

Personalities Clash During Town Meeting

Reviewed by Deb Lord

Passionate, retired history teacher Erin has convinced the City of Sarnia to create a 100-year capsule for future generations to open. She organizes a town-wide meeting for community input, with a replica of the capsule itself, ready for the momentous unveiling. But in spite of homemade Nanaimo bars, only her husband, a department store employee and a young woman who is there for, well, complicated reasons, show up. Oh, and the janitor. Refusing to reschedule, Erin, undaunted, takes this tiny group in hand and sets about distilling the essence of, well, of Sarnia.

The old adage, “you cannot judge a book by its cover” is very apparent in the Chronicles of Sarnia performance, now on stage at Memorial Hall, Blyth Festival. During a freak snowstorm, a group of five strangers overcome their differences, marital problems, prejudices and bad judgement.

Chronicles of Sarnia is an enjoyable play with lots of laughs. First impressions of the five characters in the performance change dramatically by the end of the play.

Each actor shines throughout the performance but Amy Keating, who plays Clair, a free-spirited young woman, is funny and endearing. Clair attends the meeting due to a parole- sanctioned order. She shows her tough side at the beginning of the play. As you get to know Clair better, you start to understand her life’s obstacles and why her personality is the way it is. Clair’s quirkiness brings out the best in her community cohorts.

Playwright Matt Murray, after receiving a nudge from Blyth’s artistic director Gill Garrett decided to write a love letter to his hometown of Sarnia. While this is based on the town of Sarnia, everyone in the audience recognizes the characters as someone from their own community.

Chronicles of Sarnia continues until August 18 at the Blyth Festival (Memorial Hall), 423 Queen St., Blyth. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 1-877-862-5984 or by visiting

Photo: Severn Thompson, Sam Malkin, Murray Furrow, Mark Crawford, Amy Keating. Photo by Terry Manzo.

Chronicles of Sarnia
Written by Matt Murray
Directed by Miles Potter
Performed by Mark Crawford, Murray Furrow, Amy Keating, Sam Malkin and Severn Thompson.
Memorial Hall, Blyth Festival, Blyth
August 3 to 18, 2023
Reviewed by Deb Lord


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