Better than a Hip Replacement
Note: This play was originally reviewed at Playhouse II in 2017. It is now playing at the Hamilton Family Theatre in Cambridge August 9 to August 26, 2018.
Another great Norm Foster comedy is on stage at Playhouse II in Grand Bend. Foster, as I have often explained before, is Canada’s most prolific playwright. His specialty is witty quips and clever conversation with recognizable characters creating plenty of laughs. His latest Drayton Entertainment offering, Jonas & Barry in the Home does not disappoint.
Barry has moved into the home at his daughter’s insistence. She works there and is able to get him a discount. He’s the youngest person at Gateway Gardens, but his daughter Rosemary worries about his health. Jonas moves in shortly after Barry, and the two prove to be opposites. While Barry is a curmudgeon who prefers to sit around in his sweat pants and faded t-shirt, Jonas is a natty dresser in his shirt, tie and linen sports jacket. Jonas is there to meet women and have a good time. Somehow they become good friends. It’s a heartwarming but unusual friendship, which comes to a touching conclusion.
David Nairn is Barry, the retired dentist who was a workaholic. Norm Foster, himself, plays Jonas, the neatly dressed ladies’ man who lives with a secret. Nairn is artistic director at Theatre Orangeville and worked with Foster and his plays many times in the past. The two men obviously work well together – both are extremely expressive.
Foster’s Jonas is charming, while Nairn’s Barry is jaded. Nairn’s eye-rolls or looks of disgust has the audience in gales of laughter. The two share hilarious quips and witty banter.
Erin MacKinnon plays Rosemary, Barry’s daughter, who is struggling with a secret of her own. As the Life Enrichment person at Gateway Gardens, she encourages the two men to join sports and activities. MacKinnon gives an honest performance, and is very believable as the concerned daughter.
Much of the fun centres on romance and sex in the Home. Jonas is eying up all the single ladies and convinces Barry he needs to improve his dormant sex life. This topic proves popular with the seniors in the audience, judging by the hoots of laughter and squeals of delight each time the word penis is said.
The set – chairs on the porch of a new, modern home – is very realistic and well done. The brick and stonework is typical of current popular trends.
The script is cleverly written and brings levity to aging, a topic many seniors find touchy. Most don’t want to think about moving into a home, but this play might just get the discussion started. It will get them laughing, in any case.
Jonas & Barry in the Home continues with eight shows a week until July 15 at Playhouse II in Grand Bend. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office: 519-238-6000 or Toll Free 1-855-372-9866, or check www.huroncountryplayhouse.com
Photo: Norm Foster as Jonas, David Nairn as Barry. Photo by Hilary Gauld Camilleri.
Jonas & Barry in the Home
By Norm Foster
Directed by Derek Ritschel
Performed by Norm Foster, Erin MacKinnon, and David Nairn.
Produced by Drayton Entertainment
Playhouse II, Grand Bend
June 28 to July 15, 2017
Reviewed by Mary Alderson