At the GCTC, 1979 plays prime ministers for laughs

Reviewed by Capital Critics Circle

Kelly Wong rehearses the role of John Crosbie during rehearsal for the play 1979 at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Photo by Chris Donovan
Kelly Wong plays the role of John Crosbie during rehearsal for the play 1979 at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. (Photo by Chris Donovan) Chris Donovan / Ottawa Citizen

1979
Great Canadian Theatre Company
April 13 to 30
Reviewed Thursday

How dire was Joe Clark’s situation in December 1979 when the novice prime minister was about to call the federal budget vote that would topple his government?

“Absolutely as crisis-y as it gets,” says the extremely fictionalized Clark in the highly political but hilarious play 1979, which opened Thursday night to a packed house at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.

If crisis, as they say, is fraught with opportunity, then Clark’s predicament gave playwright Michael Healey the opening he needed to load 90 minutes with no shortage of laughs and, indeed, insight into how our country’s been run over the years.

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