Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

drawerboyDB6

Photo by Maria Vartanova. Left to right: Brian Cana and Mike McSheffrey

The Drawer Boy by Michael Healey has been likened to John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. A one-set, small-cast show, set in 1972 rural Canada, it has won numerous awards as it expands on themes that explore the value of friendship, the line between fact and fiction and the part that the stage plays in uncovering the truth.

This quiet drama has been performed many times — and therein lies a problem. Not with the script itself, but with the fact that it has become somewhat stale after popping up so often since its premiere in 1999.

It is no surprise that The Drawer Boy was selected as the last offering in Ottawa Little Theatre’s 100th season and it is something of a relief that this production is well crafted. Directed with considerable care by Chantale Plante, it focuses on ensuring the believability of the three characters. Miles, the naïve city actor in search of material for a play about farming, is the catalyst who disturbs the uneasy equilibrium of the farming household where Morgan looks after his lifelong friend, brain-damaged Angus, while keeping the farm going.

Mark Kielty is outstanding as Morgan, completely believable as farmer, caregiver and reluctant and mischievous host. Brian Cano delivers a solid performance as the vacant and later the reawakening Angus and Mike McSheffrey, while initially seeming a little too awkward and wide-eyed in his characterization of Miles, grows in comfort level by the second act.

A well-structured indoor/outdoor set by Margaret Coderre-Williams, well lit by David Magladry, gives further context to the show, which is occasionally hampered by extended pauses between episodes.

The Drawer Boy continues at Ottawa Little Theatre to August 24.

The Drawer Boy

By Michael Healey

Ottawa Little Theatre

Director: Chantale Plante

Set: Margaret Coderre-Williams

Lighting: David Magladry

Sound: Riley Stewart

Costumes: Monica Browness

Cast:

Angus…………………………………………..Brian Cano

Morgan…………………………………………Mark Kielty

Miles……………………………………………Mike McSheffrey