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