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The Fixer Upper
  by Francie Dennison  
 The Fixer Upper 
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It takes a strong talent to keep an audience enthralled when you are the only actor on the stage, and Jamie Williams proved to be just such a talent in The Fixer-Upper now playing at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre.

Lorne Elliot's play is a comedy in seven phone calls, but the audience sees only one actor on the stage and hears the voices of "others" off stage at the other end of the phone. Our "hero" is a landlord trying to get some relatives names and phone numbers off his busy-body aunt so he can call them up and try to rent out his derelict shack as a summer vacation spot. The play opens on the first of these phone calls and Travis Hatt has done a highly creative job on the set design that transforms a derelict cabin into a bright cottage, followed by a shambles that looks like it got hit by a twister.

We see Williams, and we hear Danielle Nicole who masterfully plays all the background voices. Elliot's dialogue - which often takes a bitingly-honest look at family relationships but always with a humorous twist - as delivered by these two seasoned actors is outrageously hilarious. It is complex, often with long and complicated soliloquies. A fumbled or forgotten word, missed cue or stumble in the rhythm of the flow would ruin it and spoil the humour. Perfect timing, perfect delivery, is essential for a play like this one to work. It is the director's job to ensure all of this happens exactly as it should and director Simon Joynes delivered. Williams and Nicole never missed a beat.

The house was almost sold out on Opening Night, July 31, 2014. Within minutes the audience was laughing at the facial expression and body language with which Williams punctuated the dialogue in both directions. Nicole was equally brilliant in getting all the right nuances into the voice of her characters. The more colourful the dialogue, the harder people laughed, and laugh you will until the tears roll down your cheeks and your sides hurt.

I'm giving this one a two thumbs up. It runs until August 16th and it is one you won't want to miss. I'm still chuckling two hours later.


PSFT 2014 Playbill

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