The 1000 Islands Playhouse is closing out their season with an absorbing world premiere of “You Are Here,” a one-woman musical with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill. It’s inaccurate in a way to call “You Are Here” one-woman, as Diana, in a splendid performance by Linda Kash, also has conversations with other people in her life such as a stoned Viet Nam vet and her friend Joan with her distinctively messy hair-do.
Diana’s story begins as she’s watching the first moon landing in 1969. Inspired by the adventurous astronauts, she decides to leave her home and explore the world outside her protective cocoon of habit and husband. As she says, “It’s amazing the years I spent teaching myself not to see.”
Dana Osborne’s simple and effective set has a low platform upstage for the musicians backed by a huge rising moon covered with draped and scrunched fabric. In front of the platform there’s a single park bench and a small moon is suspended over the audience. Jason Hand’s expert lighting takes full advantage of the moon backdrop and Miss Osborne’s costume for Diana is amazingly versatile. As for William Fallon’s sound, it’s first rate.
Musical Director David Terriault is a fine pianist and leads his musicians through the complex score with confidence. Chris Barillaro’s orchestrations are terrific, requiring unusual instrumentation. The four musicians are Dave Barton on numerous guitars, Anke Carrington on oboe and English horn, Janet MacRae on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Anne Palmer on C flute and alto flute. All are accomplished musicians and do justice to this interesting score and creative orchestration.
Speaking of doing justice to the score, Linda Kash has a lovely voice that can be both delicate and powerful. She’s also a very good actress. As you can tell, I really liked the score and particularly “Is That Me?”
Director Robert McQueen has put all this together into a terrific production. There’s even enough movement that it never seems static. The night I saw it, the audience took it in with rapt attention – then jumped to their feet at the end, myself included. Since after 16 years this is my
final review, it’s really great to go out on a high note.
“You Are Here” music & lyrics: Neil Bartram, book Brian Hill
Produced by the 1000 Islands Playhouse in association with Acting Up Stage Co., Toronto
Through Oct. 16 Tkts: 613-382-7020
Diana – Linda Kash
Piano – David Terriault
Guitars – Dave Barton
Oboe/English horn – Anke Carrington
Trumpet/flugelhorn – Janet MacRae
C Flute/alto flute – Anne Palmer
Director – Robert McQueen
Musical Director – David Terriault
Orchestrator – Chris Barillaro
Set & Costume – Dana Osborne
Lighting – Jason Hand
Sound – WilliamFallon