Review by Aldera Chisholm
You have to love any play that involves audience participation. Even more so when that participation comes in the form of dumping water over the actors' heads. For each performance of Adrift, the playwright has requested the role of the "Rainmaker" to be played by an audience member.
Set in the beautiful Victoria Playhouse, Adrift is not your usual romantic comedy. The time is the summer of 1912, soon after the sinking of the Titanic. Island boy Jack Coady (Josh Weale) has returned from the States, where he has made his fortune in Kiwi Fruit. Faye MacLaren (Mia Ingimundson) is his abandoned sweetheart-who isn't willing to simply take up where Jack left off two years before.
Directed by Erskine Smith, the entire production takes place with one set-the rowboat, set adrift in the waters off Launching Point, PEI. Alone in the rowboat, Jack and Faye are forced to confront each other with their feelings which leads to misunderstandings, tears and laughter.
This is a great show-starting with a strong script by Island playwright Lars Davidson. The script is well sprinkled with Island references such as the infamous ghost ship. (Although, I have to admit to being tired of hearing the phase "For Talks Sake" by evenings end.) This show could easily have been a lightly entertaining and forgettable comedy, but Davidson adds balance with character's dark histories, which unfold throughout the performance.
It is the strength of the performers that enables them to move between these dramatic moments and laugh-out-loud comedy. Mia Ingimundson plays the role of Faye with style, showing anger, and suffering with equal heart-she keeps this character from being either maudlin or insufferably cold. Josh Weale does a great comic turn that lightens the load of some of the plays more serious content.
The best part of the show is the way the simple set is used to advantage. Just two actors and a rowboat-and the occasional shark. The set was designed by Jonathan Smith, and it becomes as much a character as Faye or Jack. It is visually appealing, and leaves the primary focus on the relationship unfolding onstage.
As always, the Victoria Playhouse serves as an excellent venue for summer theatre, especially for an intimate performance such as this one. If you are looking for fare that is slightly off-centre, wickedly funny, and all together a good time, set your oars for Adrift. And please do volunteer for the role of the Rainmaker-you won't regret it!
Aldera Chisholm has a day job at Indigo Books. Her nights are her own.