Chronicling a Love Affair with Canadian Theatre

those movies

Those Movies At The Foster Festival

Those Movies, the latest Norm Foster play, is receiving its world premiere at the Foster Festival’s spiffy new venue at Ridley College in St. Catherines. It is Foster in a distinctly minor key.

Foster has hung this short on laughs comedy on the slender conceit that we are all influenced by the romantic films we see (the “those movies” of the title) and that, indeed, life has an uncanny way of mirroring art.

Unemployed Patrick (Jamie Cavanagh) is momentarily homeless while his place gets fumigated to rid it of a termite infestation. Fortunately, his good buddy Harry (Tyler Lionel Parr), who works at the seemingly menial job of operating the gate at a parking lot at a nearby hospital, has a terrific two-bedroom flat. (The attractive sets are by Beckie Morris.)

As Those Movies opens, Harry is expecting a visit from Millie (Heather McGuigan), a co-worker with whom he is smitten. She, too, works raising and lowering parking lot gates but is studying for a degree in psychology.

When Harry learns that Millie is bringing along her cousin, Chelsea (Dana Fradkin), he becomes convinced that she and Patrick are fated to fall madly in love, much like Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in Notting Hill. Well, maybe.

I could never quite bring myself to believe that the intellectual and ambitious Millie has the hots for schlubby Harry, who seems more than content with his low-level job. Or that the quirky, accident-prone but sweet Chelsea would find the slovenly Patrick a potential mate.

Much of the problem with Those Movies lies in the writing, but the casting doesn’t help matters. McGuigan’s blonde bombshell Millie and Parr’s average-Joe Harry underline the misconnect between the characters. And did Patrick really need to be sporting what looks like several day’s worth of five o’clock shadow?

These actors, all making their Foster Festival debuts, are more than competent and they all give energetic performances under Lisa Horner’s direction. They just seem somewhat miscast, and some of the choices (Alex Amini handled costumes) served to accentuate problems in the script rather than obscure them.

Fradkin’s Chelsea fares best, doing a very good job of summoning up one of those ditzy but lovable gals who wind up with the leading man’s best friend in … you know … those movies.

This season the Foster Festival is holding forth in the beautiful 320-seat Mandeville Theatre in St. Catherines’ Ridley College, a posh boarding school for overprivileged teens. It’s the Festival’s best venue yet.

Those Movies continues at the Foster Festival through July 14, 2024. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the Foster Festival website.

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