The Arts

Blyth Festival 2009 – Robert Clinton’s The Mail Order Bride

Blyth Festival 2009 – Robert Clinton’s The Mail Order Bride featured image

reviewed by Paula Citron
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The Mail Order Bride
Blyth Festival
Written by Robert Clinton
Directed by Katherine Kaszas
Starring Catherine Fitch, Daniel Roberts, Marion Day, Daniel Brière, Gil Garratt, Claire Burns and Brad Rudy
At the Blyth Memorial Hall, Blyth, Ontario

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The Blyth Festival first presented Robert Clinton’s The Mail Order Bride in 1988. As part of its 35th anniversary season, former artistic director Katherine Kaszas came back to mount the revival.

The Mail Order Bride is not a linear play. An audience used to a beginning, middle and end must cope as Clinton time shifts between generations. As well, Clinton does not spoon feed, but asks the audience to gather the story by implication. One could say it was a steep learning curve that moved the Blyth audience to a more sophisticated level.

The story depicts the simultaneous lives of the scheming mail order bride and her easy-going husband, the rebellious daughter and her feckless boyfriend, and the angry grandson and his troubled marriage.

The acting was good for the most part, but Gil Garratt was a little too blustery as the grandson and Claire Burns was inaudible as his English wife.

The Blyth Festival continues in Blyth, Ontario until Sept. 19.

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