Mr. Pim Passes By: Whimsical, delightful, perfect holiday entertainment at the OLT.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Categories: Community Theatre

pim1

Photo: Alan Dean

Playful, fanciful, unpredictable — all synonyms for whimsical, the adjective that crops up frequently in reference to A.A. Milne’s comedy of manners, Mr. Pim Passes By.

Written in 1919 and first performed by Ottawa Little Theatre in 1922, it is a fitting representative of the decade during the 100th anniversary season.

It is also a remarkable example of how views on morality and proper behaviour have changed in the intervening 90 years. The crisis created by Pim (or his faulty memory) causes the Marden family much distress in the context of the times. Today, it would probably be shrugged off or, at best, shoved under the carpet. How worried would a 21st-century couple be to find that their marriage might be invalid and that they have been living in sin (gasp) even if they were the local justice of the peace and his spouse?

Appropriately presented as a period piece, the OLT production, directed by Joe O’Brien and costumed by Glynis Ellens, gives the sense of the early 20th century, although occasionally performances are a little too campy for my taste.

Katie Norland, as the bubbly Dinah, and her fiancé Brian (William Verreault Milner) do demonstrate a believable connection to each other and Barry Caiger as Mr. Pim is suitably befuddled. Jane Morris as Lady Marden takes the hunting-shooting-fishing-jolly-hockeysticks style as hard as possible, while Jenny Sheffield as Olivia is on the brink between being charming and scheming. Robert Hicks as her husband (?) is competent but ready to step out of character as he judges necessary (hence the joking reference to set designer Robin Riddihough in listing a group of famous artists).

Not that he is wrong to praise Riddihough as an artist. The set for Mr. Pim is an absolute delight. As frothy as the script, it underlines that nothing is to be taken too seriously, while also pointing up the historical context through the sketch format and the paintings depicting animal husbandry, country living and family portraits. You might even say that looking at the brightly lit set gives as much enjoyment as Winnie the Pooh finds in honey.

Mr Pim Passes By continues at Ottawa Little Theatre to December 15.

Note: A word of congratulations to Jane Morris who took over the role of Lady Marden at two days’ notice when the person originally in the role fell ill.

Director: Joe O’Brien

Set: Robin Riddihough

Lighting: John Solman

Sound: Melinda Ainsworth-Roy

Costumes: Glynis Ellens

Cast:

George Marden………………………………………..Robert Hicks

Brian Strange………………………………………….William Verreault Milner

Anne……………………………………………………Pam Harle

Mr. Pim…………………………………………………Barry Caiger

Dinah……………………………………………………Katie Norland

Olivia Marden…………………………………………..Jenny Sheffield

Lady Marden…………………………………………….Jane Morris

One Response to “Mr. Pim Passes By: Whimsical, delightful, perfect holiday entertainment at the OLT.”


Past Reviews