The Love List

Be Careful What You Wish For

The play now on stage at St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre is a classic illustration of “Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it…” The Love List is another of Norm Foster’s relationship comedies. Foster, as Canada’s most prolific and most produced playwright, has over 45 plays to his credit. He is the master of recognizable characters with dialogue full of witty zingers.

The Love List has Foster’s usual clever banter. Leon and Bill are best friends. Bill’s been divorced for several years, so for his 50th birthday, Leon wants to find him a date. He sets him up with a what seems to be a computer dating service, where Bill has to select the top ten attributes he’d like in a woman. But apparently it’s a gypsy matchmaker, not a website, and thus the intrigue unfolds.

Bill and Leon write up the top 10 list and suddenly there she is, the perfect woman. Be warned that some of the items on the list might be considered a little bit naughty – don’t bring the kids. And some of those so-called positive characteristics such as “speaks her mind” can also have a very negative effect on a relationship.

There are many good lines: “I’m not inept, I’m entirely ept…” or “I never throw caution to the wind unless I’m tethered”. Bill admits that he might be a little shallow when he picks his fantasy woman: “I wallow in shallow.”

“Tidy” is added to the list – so during intermission the stage manager and crew go to work to clear the stage of all the stacks of old newspapers that mess up Bill’s apartment. So even the intermission has some interesting action on stage. And in act II, the perfect woman becomes extremely tidy.

Terry Barna is perfect as the overconfident Leon. He has all the answers about what Bill needs in a relationship, until he discovers he has issues of his own. Ian Deakin is excellent as Bill, the statistician who lives a rather boring life until his new perfect girlfriend brings excitement. Shauna Black is the very mysterious and very perfect Justine, whose personality changes to match the love list, whenever Bill and Leon make any alterations to their perception of a perfect woman. Shauna does an excellent job in the role, despite stepping into the part in the middle of the run.

The leading lady was originally played Jayme Armstrong, a Drayton favourite, who was in the role from September 12 to November 4, before Shauna took over on November 7. Jayme moved on to Saskatoon to reprise the role of Maria in The Sound of Music which she originated earlier this year with Drayton Entertainment.

If you’re a Norm Foster fan, this play is all fun, pointing out the foibles of trying to find the perfect mate. With all three cast members possessing perfect comedic timing, it offers lots of laughs and a little mystery.

The Love List continues with eight shows a week until December 16 at St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office: 519-238-6000 or Toll Free 1-855-372-9866, or check www.draytonentertainment.com

The Love List
By Norm Foster
Directed by Chris McHarge
Performed by Terry Barna, Shauna Black, Ian Deakin
The Schoolhouse Theatre, St. Jacobs
September 12 to December 16, 2012
Reviewed by Mary Alderson