Where You Are

A Satisfying Mix of Humour and Heart

Reviewed by Sookie Mei

Island Time is special.  Everything moves a little slower, there’s not as much to do, and people tend to look out for each other.  In Kristen Da Silva’s hilarious and heartfelt comedy Where You Are, the characters embrace that island mindset, and in fact believe that the island really wants them to be there.  Luckily, the audience also wants to be there, with this cast of characters, in this winning show.

Where You Are is the story of two sisters, Glenda and Suzanne, who live together on Manitoulin Island.  The story starts off simply enough – Suzanne’s daughter, Beth, is about to arrive for a week’s visit, and the women are distracted from their planning when their hot, young neighbour, Patrick, comes by.  But there is more going on under the surface – Suzanne is worried about her contentious relationship with her daughter, Glenda is keeping a big secret from her niece, and Beth has some secrets of her own.  Plus, Patrick is facing a personal crisis, and is not coping well.  Once Beth arrives, the story moves briskly through the week’s events, with secrets revealed, choices made, and lives forever changed.

The script is well-written and engaging, driving the pace of the show forward with tight dialogue and clever timing.  Funny one-liners and jokes with longer payoffs keep the audience laughing, but there is plenty of pathos and quite a few emotional moments scattered throughout, with at least one moving scene bringing tears to this reviewer’s eyes.  The audience is interested in the action and the characters, and while some plot elements are obvious from the onset (the daughter and the hot neighbour hooking up, for example), the script keeps us guessing and interested in what is coming next.  Simon Joynes’ direction serves the script well, bringing out the highs and lows in the show and allowing the action to unfold naturally.  As with any production, this reviewer is not a fan of actors talking out to the audience instead of to each other, but there is a case to be made for perfectly audible dialogue!

All four actors are well-cast and endearing, and each brings dimension to their portrayal.  Monique Lund as Suzanne is brash and footloose, stumbling out of bed late and regaling her sister with tales of the sexploits of her youth, but shows us her vulnerable side when it comes to her family.  Sharon McFarlane (Glenda) walks the fine line between depression and hope, keeping her chin up and trying not to give in to heartbreak, and she elicits genuine compassion from the audience, along with laughs.  Brittany Kay, who plays the visiting daughter Beth, brings a youthful energy to the role, but imbues it with just the right amount of gravitas.  And the star turn in this production is from Drew Moore as the neighbour, Patrick.  Moore is hilarious, genuine, and a little dopey, with excellent comic timing and expressive eyes that do a lot of the talking for him.  He was a pure delight to watch.  On this opening night, a few exchanges could use some more space, as if the actors are not listening to each other in their rush to get their lines out, but it could just be opening night excitement that will work itself out.

Joe Recchia’s set is beautiful, with a wide cottage porch spanning most of the stage, and a wooden pergola over a bench off to the side.  The scene feels very familiar to anyone who has visited a Canadian cottage or farm, with a white picket fence holding back some chickens, and bountiful flowers bringing in some colour.  The birch trees in the background add a nice natural element, as well.  The set is beautifully lit by designer Tony Sclafani, capturing the subtle shades of day and night throughout the show. 

The play’s themes of family, love, loss, relationships, and death are universal, and everyone can relate to at least one part of the show, whether it’s moving on after getting dumped, or having to deal with nosy family members.  This accessibility works well for this script, which is bound to be produced often across Canada in years to come.  Do yourself a favour and go see this wonderful production in Port Stanley as a fitting end the summer theatre season.

Where You Are continues at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre (PSFT) until September 9.  Tickets are available at the PSFT box office at 519-782-4353 or 1-855-782-4353, or visit https://psft.ca.

Photo: Brittany Kay, Monique Lund, Drew Moore, and Sharon McFarlane. Photo by Shutter Studios.

Where You Are
Written by Kristen Da Silva
Directed by Simon Joynes
Lighting Design by Tony Sclafani
Set Design by Joe Recchia
Stage Managed by Jory McLean
Performed by Brittany Kay, Monique Lund, Sharon McFarlane, and Drew Moore
Port Stanley Festival Theatre, 302 Bridge Street, Port Stanley
August 23 to September 9, 2023
Reviewed by Sookie Mei


Sign up here if you would like to receive notice when news, reviews, and musings are posted. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *