Friday, May 8, 2009

supernova: rum runners and rural cape breton

three rum runners out of luck off the coast of newfoundland and one messed up family in cape breton kicked off eastern front's supernova theatre festival in the neptune studio theatre last night.

a rum for the money is a great piece of story telling. it opens with three terrified men dodging bullets and sprinting for their ancient boat to flee the gendarmes of st. pierre & miquelon. once on the water, they've got to sail quietly to evade the rcmp choppers, whales and a mystery ship they don't quite escape. the three men stuck on the boat - jack (john dartt), frank (colin furlong) and jim (adam brake) - explore marriage, love, religion and life in general on the dark, cold midnight.

jim is a young fellow on his first rum run, frank is risking his life to escape his hateful wife and jack is the old veteran who's done it a thousand times, but this time's the last. it's a three-ages-of-man exploration of life, with lots of good jokes. ('i've got me own teeth,' says an indignant frank. 'no you don't,' counters jim. 'do too! i bought and paid for 'em meself.')

berni stapleton's intense play shows well how the very specific - three men in a boat in 1960s newfoundland - can touch the universal.

next up was he'd be your father's mother's cousin, the staged version of mary-colin chisholm's radio program about a cape breton family sending tapes to their daughter in toronto. mari rankin provides the fiddle and christian murray the sound effects.

personally, i hate cape breton, but the theatre was stuffed full of laughs. chisholm convincingly inhabits the bodies of a grandmother, two parents, a daughter and a cat, plus others, taking the reader through a vinyl-cafe-style year in the life of the family.

much like high school musical, it'll thrill its core fans, but if you don't have the foggiest idea who your father's mother's cousin is, save your money for the star-wars guy next week.

supernova runs until the 17, with three new plays starting wednesday.


  1. Ummm, did you really just say you *hate* Cape Breton? I think that's blasphemous to Nova Scotia. You're gonna geeeettt iiiiiit!

  2. it came to me as a revelation: the fiddles and bagpipes, the hookey jokes... it drives me mad.

    it needed to be said.