Age is Just a Number
Reviewed by Holly Wenning
Norm Foster’s latest offering at Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia was a big hit on the opening afternoon, especially with the audience of mostly over 65-year-olds. The only negative comment that I heard, (quite loudly from an audience member behind me), was when Rosie talked about Barry being old at the age of 67, and the woman behind me declared “That is NOT old!”
With a gorgeous set of the outside patio at a senior’s residence, and perfect costumes and lighting, Jonas and Barry in the Home is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with this poignant comedy by Norm Foster, Canada’s equivalent of Neil Simon. Foster has been the most produced playwright in Canada every year for the past 20 years. His plays receive an average of 150 productions annually, making him, by far, the most produced playwright in the history of this country.
At 67 years old, Barry finds himself rather peeved about residing in a seniors’ home. But it’s a small price to pay for being near his beloved daughter, Rosie. As an employee at the home, Rosie was responsible for orchestrating her father’s move, spurred by concerns about his potential to suffer a heart attack, as his father, brother, and uncle all did before reaching 65. For Barry, his daily routine involving slipper-shuffling, naps, and dining with Rosie, is comfortably adequate.
However, the tranquillity of Barry’s existence is short-lived, disrupted by the entrance of Jonas, a charismatic and flirtatious retired stage actor. Jonas, a man who revels in life’s luxuries, from lavish dates to high-end apparel, views the grumpy Barry as a project in need of revitalization.
As the two engage in a combination of playful banter and deeper discussions on topics spanning women, sports, and family values, Jonas and Barry are faced with the task of breaking down their barriers and exploring how to continue living their lives to the fullest.
The artistic directors David Rogers and David Hogan have assembled the perfect professional cast for this show.
Keith Savage plays Jonas, while a real-life father and daughter team, Patric Masurkevitch and Emily Masurkevitch play the roles of Barry and Rosie.
The reason I stress “professional” is that these 3 actors are just that: incredibly skilled actors. As an actor myself, all I could think about was the lines! These actors were masterful at their craft and were well prepared.
Keith Savage as Jonas shows the largest arc of character development in the 2 ½ short hours. Without any spoilers, his dynamic Jonas goes from being a caged charismatic animal to a calmer version with a purpose, teaching Barry how to live life to it’s fullest, no mater how long you have.
That is not to take away anything from the perfectly cast Patric Masurkevitch and his daughter Emily. Their banter and continuous ‘foot stool’ gag is easy flowing and beautiful. The two of them spend lots of time talking about the tough stuff in a father-daughter relationship, but always go back to the love between them.
The artistic directors, the Davids of D2 Entertainment, choose all the shows and create all the content for each and every season and are proudly celebrating 10 years at VPP. They understand that the charm of VPP is the greeting at the beginning, middle and end of each and every show, and they are tireless at making sure all the staff are friendly, kind and helpful.
Jonas and Barry in the Home is a must-see production. The older crowd will enjoy it, but anyone can appreciate the study of family dynamics.
Jonas and Barry in the Home continues at Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia until August 27. . For tickets, call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or http://thevpp.ca/
Photo: Keith Savage as Jonas, Emily Masurkevitch as Rosie, and Patrick Masurkevitch as Barry. Photo by Diane O’Dell.
Jonas and Barry in the Home
By Norm Foster
Directed by David Rogers and David Hogan
Performed by Keith Savage, Patrick Masurkevitch, and Emily Masurkevitch.
Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
August 10 to 27, 2023
Reviewed by Holly Wenning