Warts and All | The City News Review

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Will Huang & Rob De Fries

Will Huang & Rob De Fries

“WARTS and All” is a well rehearsed and strongly performed new comedy by prolific local playwright, Bruce Hoogendoorn.

It’s delivered with unpretentious charm by a strong cast led by two rival grandmothers. Oliver Baudert in drag is perfect as Alice, a boastful old woman who would go to the opening of a hat box. Helen Vaughn-Roberts’ Margaret is dry, wry and played with impeccable timing. The relationship between Margaret and her depressed teenage grandson Simon (Will Huang) is strong, funny and real.

The intergenerational ghost story tackles themes of family pride, personal identity and reconciliation with the past. While visiting his grandmother because he is ill, depressed and has just failed school, Simon is in turn visited by the amnesic ghost of a sports coach (Rob De Fries).

This haunting leads Simon on a quest through family history during which he meets a high-achieving love interest, solves a 70-year-old family mystery and begins his own recovery.

Hoogendoorn is an insightful and compassionate writer whose characters are as likeable as they are funny. There is nothing groundbreaking about his style of drawing room comedy, but he does it well. The lighting and set are adequate but spare and the direction is simple, highlighting the committed cast’s engaging and enjoyable performances.

“Warts and All” is suitable for all ages, local, original, funny and affordable – what’s not to like?

Reviewed by Simone Penkethman

Posted on May 1st 2014 in Reviews

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