The Tomorrow Box
Review by Sean McQuaid
Kelly Caseley (Lisa Graham), Sherri-Lee Darrach (Alice Cooper), Alison Hart (Maureen Cooper), Nils Ling (Jack Cooper), Tim Wartman (Joe Cooper)
Head Carpenter/Set Design/Stage Manager
Sarah Emily Bruce
In this 1980 play returning to the Playhouse after a late 1980s run, newlyweds Joe & Alice Cooper leave the city to buy the family farm from Joe’s father Jack, who hasn’t told his wife Maureen about his plans to retire to Florida with her. Stunned to learn that male chauvinist Jack has sold their home without consulting her, Maureen rethinks her life with support from Alice and feminist lawyer Lisa, Alice’s sister.
It's a likeable, plausible and often funny ensemble. Assorted repetitions, hesitations, interruptions and self-corrections on the part of the actors opening night felt like a company not fully confident of their lines just yet, though that may firm up as the run continues. While multiple cast members bring the comedy, a movingly sympathetic Hart does much of the heavy lifting drama-wise.
Chislett's script may be more of a period time capsule than a timely revelation decades later, but it's still funny and its observations on issues like rural gender dynamics are still broadly relevant, with more than a little familiar resonance for Island audiences.
Solid technical elements like a projected scenic backdrop (adding colour and depth to the physical set) are offset by weaker bits like an unconvincingly decorated beer carton prop and an oddly vague, vexingly repetitive, distractingly uniform and occasionally ill-timed arriving car sound effect.
With an entertaining script and an appealing cast, The Tomorrow Box may not be a flawless package but there's a lot to like inside it.
—Playing select dates at Kings Playhouse. Tickets/info www.kingsplayhouse.com.