One for Fans of Rod Beattie & Wingfield Series
Reviewed by Vicki Stokes
Wingfield Lost & Found, now at Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia, is the final play about Walt
Wingfield in a series of seven. Mary Alderson says it best:
“For those not familiar with the Wingfield series, Dan Needles has used a string of
newspaper columns to create a story of a Toronto stockbroker who leaves the big city to
become a hobby farmer in the mythical township of Persephone. Stratford actor Rod
Beattie stars in the one-man shows, directed by his brother Doug Beattie. The series has a
loyal following, and they have stuck closely to their popular format – almost all the same
characters, on the same set, but with new laughs in each play. The plays have been filmed
for television, in exactly the same format as the stage productions.”
There’s a wellspring of humour in this play about a dried-up well, an extended drought, Oreo
cookie-type cows, a lost bracelet, some interesting nicknames, Omega-3 chicken eggs, a
yellowjacket caper, and the origin of a melody. Not only that, these days as environmental issues
are more pressing, there is a lot of truth about how carbon-heavy hobby farms can be, and
droughts are increasingly a worry in some parts.
Water witching is discussed as a way of finding a source of water for a new well on Walt’s farm.
Whether it’s called water divining, dowsing, finding, or doodlebugging, it involves using a
y-shaped green twig or two rods and a little superstition. Some people swear by it, which makes
for a good story, though the authenticity is dubious. Witching is part of a great storyline featuring
“Dry-well” Delbert from the nursing home.
Rod Beattie has performed this series for nearly 35 years. He’s an eight-season veteran of the
Stratford Festival and is a master of the various characters, be it man, woman, child, or dog.
There are YouTube videos of some of the Wingfield series, and they show an animated Beattie
modifying his voice and gesticulating with his body to become different characters. The play I
saw was of Beattie in the usual red shirt and overalls, making an entrance with a walker and
performing in a glider rocker. No one seemed to mind; the audience seemed to be chock-full of
Rod Beattie fans, but I mention this for the sake of full disclosure.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the Wingfield series, you will soon become familiar with the
characters and you’ll have a lot of laughs. Those who will get the most out of this performance at
the VPP are long-term Wingfield series fans and Rod Beattie fans.
Wingfield Lost & Found continues at Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia until August 27. Call
1-800-717-7694 or 519-882-1221 or visit www.thevpp.ca for tickets.
Photo: Rod Beattie as Walt Wingfield, photo by Ian Jackson
Wingfield Lost & Found
Written by Dan Needles
Performed by Rod Beattie
Directed by Douglas Beattie
Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
August 17 to August 27, 2022
Reviewed by Vicki Stokes