Our Town resonates with our people, our town

Few productions have made this reviewer a little misty but Evolution Theatre Company’s performance of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town did. And that was just at last night’s dress rehearsal.

What is clear as the rising moon in this show, is the cast is ready for you, the audience.

Set in the small New Hampshire town and performed over three acts on a stripped back set, the play within a play is conducted by the stage manager, expertly played by Julie McPhail.

Within a space of about two hours, we follow the lifetimes of the townspeople but mostly that of two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs.

The teenage uncertainties, innocence and sweetness Maia Ingoe finds in her character, Emily Webb, is well matched by Will Toon’s portrayal of young George Gibbs, a sometimes gauche, mostly guileless, school baseball jock Toon who plays with natural pep.

We see a crush grow into a tenderness, particularly in the touching flashback to a drugstore-milkbar scene.

McPhail’s character ushers characters on and offstage, announces shifts in time and ultimately functions as a kind of psychopomp. The cast of 21 peoples the stage, and auditorium, with ordinary but full lives, while a sense of mortality, of ephemerality, threads throughout.

Hugo McGuinness’s Dr Gibbs and Dave Hall’s newspaper editor Mr Webb are convincing as family patriarchs in this Dinna Myers-directed show. Jo Brown as Rebecca Gibbs is born to act, while Danielle Siata is all the part of the domesticated Mrs Webb.

Space does not allow all actors to get a fair mention but we need to see more of David Milne (Constable Warren), and Dave Henderson (the milkman with horse-drawn cart). Newcomer Wendy Wallace can easily afford to have more confidence in her performance of her two characters. On wardrobe, Marie Murphy and George West-Cahill have done a fantastic job of creating authentic costumes.

The humour, poignance and profundity of this production will envelope you long after curtain call.

  • Our Town, 75 Disraeli Street, opens tonight at 7.30pm with 2pm matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets at door or book online at www.evolutiontheatre.org.nz/our-town

Few productions have made this reviewer a little misty but Evolution Theatre Company’s performance of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town did. And that was just at last night’s dress rehearsal.

What is clear as the rising moon in this show, is the cast is ready for you, the audience.

Set in the small New Hampshire town and performed over three acts on a stripped back set, the play within a play is conducted by the stage manager, expertly played by Julie McPhail.

Within a space of about two hours, we follow the lifetimes of the townspeople but mostly that of two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs.

The teenage uncertainties, innocence and sweetness Maia Ingoe finds in her character, Emily Webb, is well matched by Will Toon’s portrayal of young George Gibbs, a sometimes gauche, mostly guileless, school baseball jock Toon who plays with natural pep.

We see a crush grow into a tenderness, particularly in the touching flashback to a drugstore-milkbar scene.

McPhail’s character ushers characters on and offstage, announces shifts in time and ultimately functions as a kind of psychopomp. The cast of 21 peoples the stage, and auditorium, with ordinary but full lives, while a sense of mortality, of ephemerality, threads throughout.

Hugo McGuinness’s Dr Gibbs and Dave Hall’s newspaper editor Mr Webb are convincing as family patriarchs in this Dinna Myers-directed show. Jo Brown as Rebecca Gibbs is born to act, while Danielle Siata is all the part of the domesticated Mrs Webb.

Space does not allow all actors to get a fair mention but we need to see more of David Milne (Constable Warren), and Dave Henderson (the milkman with horse-drawn cart). Newcomer Wendy Wallace can easily afford to have more confidence in her performance of her two characters. On wardrobe, Marie Murphy and George West-Cahill have done a fantastic job of creating authentic costumes.

The humour, poignance and profundity of this production will envelope you long after curtain call.

  • Our Town, 75 Disraeli Street, opens tonight at 7.30pm with 2pm matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets at door or book online at www.evolutiontheatre.org.nz/our-town
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