If you are looking for a warm and fuzzy theatrical experience this holiday season, then head to The Gladstone Theatre and catch its current production, Ethan Claymore. It has all you want in a feel-good escape play: great acting, heart-warming plot and a happy ending.
Ethan Claymore is a subdued, naïve, shy, simple egg farmer/artist. Five years after losing his wife to leukemia, he is still mourning her loss and has also fallen on tough financial times. His gregarious, nosy but utterly lovable neighbour and good friend, Douglas, decides that five years is enough and makes it his mission to pull Ethan out of his shell. He tries his hand at matchmaking, buoyed by the arrival of a new teacher in town. At the same time, Ethan receives a letter that his estranged brother, Martin, a cheesy car salesman, has died from a heart attack.
Enter Martin’s ghost, apparently on a yet-to-be-identified mission before he can move on. There are some very funny and cleverly-orchestrated scenes thanks to the fact that only Ethan can see and hear him.
The plot follows the machinations of Ethan’s brother and neighbour to help him out and there is some very funny dialogue and scenes. Inone realm there is Ethan, Douglas and Teresa and then there is the other world of Martin and Ethan and their witty conversations, Martin’s post-obit magic and scenes revisiting their childhood, giving you context for their current relationship.
There are a few awkward moments in the flow of the plot, but they are endearing and frankly just add to the quirky nature of the play.
Paul Rainville lights up the stage as Douglas and when he’s not there, you long to have him back. He is magnetic. David Frisch is fabulous as Martin, the slimy, yet repentant ghost who ultimately wins your heart. Tim Oberholzer is fantastic as the awkward, geeky Ethan and Sarah Finn is great as Teresa, who on the surface seems pure, but is quite focused on her intentions to score with Ethan.
The themes of forgiveness, redemption, renewal, friendship and love are all explored with humour and touching moments. Flee the hustle and bustle of December and enjoy this heart-warming tale. It will make you glow inside long after you leave the theatre.
It runs until December 22. www.thegladstone.ca