Brilliant! This is brilliant, I kept telling myself all through Bed & Breakfast, the amazing new play at the Belfry. Was it the words, tumbling unhindered from the mouths of two superb actors as they popped in and out of various characters with great fluidity? Or their instant timing as they became all of the different people in the play? Or the fact that we immediately knew who they were by their stance, voice inflexion or hand gestures? Perhaps it was the honest sincerity of this heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) story which grabbed us by the lapels and would not let us go.
OK, so the plot is fairly simple - Brett and Drew, a gay couple living in Toronto, suddenly find themselves inheriting a large house in a small community. At first, putting it on the market seems the sensible thing to do, but gradually the idea of living there inserts itself into their brains. So, yes, they would renovate the building and turn it into a country B&B. But unfortunately, small town Ontario is not the big city, and this charming couple find themselves the object of hate from their small-minded neighbours and fellow-townspeople. They do their best to be helpful and inconspicuous, but their home is targeted and damaged, and they are almost ready to give up and go back to Toronto.
Gradually, the other characters insinuate themselves into Brett and Drew’s lives – the sullen teenager whose standard reply to any question is “I dunno.” The two lesbians, one of whom is pregnant; the helpful young man who keeps bringing home-made food offerings; the surly contractor and his helpers; one exaggerated gay man, and a host of other interesting people. The lightning speed with which these two actors fulfill all these roles makes for an absolutely amazing piece of theatre.
Mark Crawford wrote Bed & Breakfast, and he plays Brett, while Paul Dunn is Drew. They both portray these two main characters with grace, sensitivity and humour – a total pleasure to watch throughout.
Dana Osborne’s set design is minimal and functional, and the lighting by Rebecca Picherak and sound by John Gzowski, keep up the fast pace of the show with efficiency and accuracy. The entire production gets five stars out of five.
Oh, and you can also check out the neat renovations to the theatre while you are there.
Bed & Breakfast runs at the Belfry until August 27. Get your tickets now! 250-385-6815.