Reviewed by Paula Citron
Written and directed by Ken Gass
Performed by Ron White, Irene Poole, Sascha Cole and Fiona Byrne
Nov. 13 to Dec. 12, 2010
Dr. Norman Bethune is one of Canada’s most charismatic figures. He was an idealist who saved countless lives during wars in Spain and China between 1936 and 1939. He was also a hard-drinking womanizer, and this dichotomy is his endless fascination.
Ken Gass’ new play Bethune Imagined deals with the six months before the doctor leaves for Spain. Gass has chosen to show Bethune’s growing call to action through his relationship with three women, and that’s one problem with the play. Bethune the idealist gets lost amid the sex and booze. The women, however, are all strongly portrayed by Irene Poole, Sascha Cole and Fiona Byrne.
The other key problem is Ron White as Bethune. White is an excellent character actor but he is not a matinee idol, and that is what Bethune has to be. We have to see a man who draws women to him like flies to honey, and he’s not there.
Bethune Imagined continues at Factory Theatre until Dec. 12.