Tip of the Iceberg

Newfoundland Scheming & Dreaming

Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Two aging Newfoundlanders head out in their boat to do some scheming and dreaming. Their talk and their music create a charming story, Tip of the Iceberg, now on stage at Globus Theatre south of Bobcaygeon.

Gordon (Mark Whelan) and Archie (Rick Hughes) head out towards a huge iceberg in a small boat. Archie wants to cash in on the tourist trade that is taking hold in their small village, so he has a scheme to make vodka using iceberg water. (This scheme might just be feasible – on a trip to Newfoundland, we enjoyed Iceberg Beer, made at the Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s.)

But their conversation takes twists and turns and they both reveal their thoughts and worries to each other. When the boat breaks down, they row to the iceberg and end up spending the night when their cell phones don’t have reception. A recurring theme in the show centres around the fact that almost 90% of the iceberg is under water.

Chris Rait, one of the creators of this play provides music to set the scene. Rait plays guitar and sings, with Whelan and Hughes joining in at different times. The folksie, Newfoundland-style songs offer sweet interludes.

At times, the first act seemed rather slow, but perhaps that was just an opening night problem. I’m sure the pace will improve in future performances. Worse yet, the opening night show was marred by others. Some audience members responded with extremely loud laughter, perhaps alcohol infused. Often the laughter came at inappropriate times. For example, when Archie was confessing his concerns surrounding his daughter’s upcoming wedding, creating a very poignant and heartfelt moment in the show, these guests responded with uproarious laughter, spoiling the message. They also talked loudly, even making comments to the actors. When one character spoke of death, they responded with a loud ‘No!”, or asked “What?” when they didn’t understand what was happening. I suspect they aren’t accustomed to live theatre, and they were treating it as if they were sitting on their couch at home watching TV. Sadly, they need a theatre etiquette lesson (see below).

I’m concerned these audience members made it difficult for the actors, especially on the first run of the show. I love live theatre because I am right there with the characters in the story. Anything that disrupts me and takes me out of the story, spoils my enjoyment of the evening and my understanding of the play. The actors need the audience’s full attention and we weren’t able to give it to them that night. Whelan and Hughes are both experienced, talented actors and the audience wasn’t able to see them at their best due to the distractions.

Despite these problems, Tip of the Iceberg is a charming Newfoundland story and I trust subsequent theatregoers will see a better production of this funny and heart-warming play. I look forward to seeing it again the future.  And of course, any show at the Globus Theatre is improved by the fabulous dinners offered beforehand.

On theatre etiquette:

I have written about theatre etiquette in the past. If you’re interested in some horror stories, please read Theatre Etiquette – A Gentle Reminder here…  https://www.entertainthisthought.com/theatre-etiquette-a-gentle-reminder/
And The Worst in Theatre Etiquette here… https://www.entertainthisthought.com/the-worst-in-theatre-etiquette/

Tip of the Iceberg continues at the Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn near Bobcaygeon, until August 12. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 705-738-2037 or 1-800-304-7897 or visit https://www.lakeviewartsbarn.com/globus-current-season

Photo: Rick Hughes and Mark Whalen on the iceberg. Photo by Rebecca Bloom.

Tip of the Iceberg
By Chris Rait, Mark Williams and Jeannine Bouw
Directed by James Barrett
Performed by Rick Hughes, Mark Whelan, and Chris Rait.
Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn, Bobcaygeon
August 2 to 12, 2023
Reviewed by Mary Alderson


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