Audiences wanting a fun and breezy way to spend an evening need look no further than Western Canada Theatre's production of Harvest.
Actually, Ken Cameron's play runs a brisk 90 minutes or so with intermission, so theatregoers can grab a drink afterward and talk about it. This isn't a criticism either, as comedy is best served at a quick clip with one joke fired off after another.
On the surface, Harvest doesn't sound like a comedy at all. The play is about a couple on the brink of retirement who, after selling the family farm, rent out their farm house to a young man they believe is an airline pilot.
Truth is, the pilot isn't a pilot at all and the next thing the couple know the home is a marijuana grow-op.
Stories like this are an all too common reality and can be financially devastating for the people who's rental property become grow-ops. Thankfully Harvest, like many good comedies, is able to make light of a dark situation.
Cameron's script is loaded with good lines and director Mark DuMez – who previously directed the play in Chemainus – does a fine job staging the material, but Harvest works because of its two leads, Norma Bowen and Brian Linds.
Bowen and Linds star as Charlotte and Allan, the retiring couple. But they also play every other character in Harvest. And they often perform as multiple characters in the same scene. From time to time, they are called upon to be the same character in the same scene.
Sound confusing? Well, Bowen and Linds are so good that it's not. They make this character swapping look easy, doing so with posture, changes in voice and simple props. My favourite characters are an elderly Russian neighbour, an RCMP constable, and four church ladies. Linds plays all four against Bowen's Charlotte and it's comic gold. My hat is off to you, sir.
I liked Harvest a lot. It's a great way for WCT to launch its 2012-2013 theatre season. Given the packed house on Saturday night, I'm sure word of mouth with guarantee many sold out shows at the Pavilion Theatre before its run ends Sept. 29.