The Arts

The Little Years

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Reviewed by Paula Citron

The Little Years
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Written by John Mighton
Directed by Chris Abraham
Performed by Irene Poole, Bethany Jillard, Yanna McIntosh, Chick Reid, Evan Buliung and Victor Ertmanis
Studio Theatre
Jun. 29 to Sept. 24, 2011

A mandate of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is Canadian plays. John Mighton has crafted a new version of his 1995 play The Little Years, and the production is as provocative as it is disturbing.

Mighton’s basic premise is wasted potential. It is 1957, on the cusp of the feminist revolution. Teenage Kate is probably as intelligent as her shining, perfect brother William, but her rebellion masks her genius. Kate’s blighted life is woven around Mighton’s erudite metaphor inspired by the scientific theories of time.

I have always considered Irene Poole a great Canadian actress, and her portrayal of Kate is a marvel of a true eccentric. Yanna McIntosh is excellent as her sympathetic sister-in-law Grace, while young actress Bethany Jillard continues to impress as both Young Kate and her niece Tanya.

This play, sensitively directed by Chris Abraham, gets to the heart of how the influence of others can damage lives forever.

The Little Years continues at Stratford’s Studio Theatre until Sept. 24.

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