Don’t stop at Norm’s Station time. Jasper Station at the OLT.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

norm1116foster

Playwright Norm Foster. Photo by Alan Dean. Perhaps playwright Norm Foster was waiting for a train when the idea of a script about five people in the waiting room of a train station occurred to him. Perhaps Canada’s most prolific playwright devoted more time to turning Jasper Station into a musical in cooperation with composer and lyricist Steve Thomas than is obvious from the very stilted first act of this play with music, first presented in 2001.

Act II has a little more substance — just a little — but, in general, the story line of Jasper Station is wafer thin, the songs are forgettable and the characters range from one-dimensional to foolish. And weak material, however well presented, remains weak.

The current Ottawa Little Theatre production features some fine singing, particularly from Mary Armstrong as Nikki and Nicole Tishler, some bouncy choreography from Debbie Miller-Smith and one or two moments that have more than passing interest. The best example of this is the embryonic romantic encounter between Nikki and Henry (played with verve and sparkle by Nick Nahwegahbow — a talent to watch).

However, despite some neat cameo portrayals from the anchor character of the ticket seller/stationmaster by Brian Cano, attention is as much on whether his middle shirt button is going to pop off as on what he is saying or singing.

One of the most irritating characters, as drawn by Foster, is of Sterling (Will Burr) the indecisive accountant who may or may not take the train to a new life. As directed by Richard Elichuk, Burr uses his lanky frame to maximize his silliness and make Sterling a cartoon character with little credibility.

Christine Drew is more believable as the discontented wife about to leave her husband — maybe — and Tishler gives an enthusiastic, but otherwise flat, presentation of the young reporter with ambition.

No hoots on the whistle for this slow train.

Jasper Station continues at Ottawa Little Theatre to August 25.

Director: Richard Elichuk

Musical director: Paul Legault

Choreography: Debbie Miller-Smith

Set: Barry Daley

Lighting: John Solman

Sound: Mike Hefferman

Costume; Peggy Laverty

Cast:

Rebecca………………………………….Nicole Tishler

Bert………………………………………Brian Cano

Henry…………………………………….Nick Nahwegahbow

Sterling…………………………………..Will Burr

Emeline…………………………………..Christine Drew

One Response to “Don’t stop at Norm’s Station time. Jasper Station at the OLT.”


Past Reviews