Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Blyth Festival audience gave Gary Kirkham’s new play Pearl Gidley a standing ovation, and for good reason. While the second act does flag a bit, the acting is superb, the script is filled with lots of humour mixed with sentiment, and the play touches the heart.
The setting is the 1960s. Maiden sisters Pearl and Edith Gidley (Catherine Fitch and Patricia Hamilton respectively) take in borders to help alleviate their genteel poverty. Their newest lodger (Gil Garratt) is an American on the run from the Viet Nam War. George, the local piano tuner (Sam Malkin), is the one who introduces the young man into the lives of the Gidley sisters.
Director Miles Potter deserves kudos for restraint in what could have been a mawkish melodrama.
Kirkham’s poignant play presents the intriguing relationships between four compelling characters that deserves to be seen on other stages.
The Blyth Festival continues at Blyth Memorial Hall in Blyth, Ontario, until Sept. 4.
Written by Gary Kirkham
Directed by Miles Potter
Performed by Catherine Fitch, Patricia Hamilton, Gil Garratt and Sam Malkin
Blyth Memorial Hall, Jul. 28 to Sept. 4