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Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad

Review by Derek Martin

You can almost smell the rink fries and hot chocolate when you enter the Studio Theatre at Confederation Centre in Charlottetown. From the rusty bolts on the steel truss to the canteen in the corner, the room has been transformed into a local hockey arena. We watch from the “ice”, over the boards, to where the action takes place on and around a battered tier of bleachers. From the usher with the Leafs jersey to the old rink-rock anthems on the p.a., attention to detail has been paid, and by the time the lights dim the mood has been properly set.

Island actor Bryde MacLean plays Donna, a quiet single mother, and Festival veteran Matthew Campbell is Teddy, an uninhibited loudmouth and single dad. The action revolves around their awkward courtship during a hockey season. They cheer their kids on (each in their own way) while gradually revealing more of themselves—in his case inevitably, while she is drawn out with more reluctance. Unlike in some romantic comedies, they are people with real problems and serious issues—you’re not always sure they should get together. But Teddy possesses some poetry under his bluster, and Donna is slowly finding a way to emerge from a difficult time.

In spite of the drama, this odd couple generates a lot of laughs. From the emotional roller-coaster of watching their kids (who we never see, but who come to life vividly thanks to Matthew and Bryde), to their clashing views on life and hockey, there is a humour that comes from the strong relatability. We know this place and these people—if we haven’t actually been them at some point.

Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad was first produced by Nova Scotia’s Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company, and has had great success across Canada in several productions and tours. It’s a fun addition to the Confederation Centre’s summer season, and plays to August 29 at the Studio Theatre in Charlottetown.

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