Kincardine Record

Small steals the show as lovable curmudgeon in Bluewater's "Jonas and Barry in the Home"

By: Liz Dadson

July 19, 2016

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Norm Foster's newest play, "Jonas and Barry in the Home," is a surefire hit as the world premiere opened Thursday night at the Bluewater Summer Playhouse in downtown Kincardine.

Ralph Small (above, left, with Hallie Seline and Jonathan Whittaker), Bluewater's artistic director, steals the show as lovable curmudgeon Barry Butterfield, a retired dentist who doesn't really want to be in the assisted-living home, but whose daughter insists he move there because of his family's poor health history.

Hallie Seline is superb as the bossy daughter, Rosie, encouraging her father to take part in the many activities at the home, but urging him not to overdo things, given his family's poor health history - this becomes a running gag throughout the show, much to the delight of the audience.

At one point, Rosie asks her father what he doesn't like about the place. "Too many old people," he replies, to great laughter.

As Barry is wrapped up in a blanket in his chair, with his feet up on a stool, in walks Jonas Ainsworth, played perfectly by Jonathan Whittaker. Full of life and vitality, he is the complete opposite of Barry. He wants to do everything and meet everyone and have great fun.

Jonas reminds you of Dick Van Dyke, while Barry is more like Walter Matthau of "Grumpy Old Men" fame.

The bantering and fast-paced hilarity are pure Foster, and the cast is brilliant at comedic-timing and quick line-delivery.

Mixed in with the laughs are some serious and poignant moments as the characters discuss death and dying. And eventually, we see the two men switch roles, and then Barry decides he's just too young to be living in an assisted-living home yet, despite his family's poor health history.

"You can't let the fear of dying, stop you from living," he intones.

It's a terrific show; get a ticket and go see it for yourself.

"Jonas and Barry in the Home" continues July 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and 29 at 8 p.m., July 23 and 30 at 9 p.m., and July 20 and 27 at 2 p.m., at the Bluewater Summer Playhouse, located in the Kincardine Arts Centre in downtown Kincardine.

For ticket information, contact the box office at 519-396-5722 or 1-877-396-5722, by  E-mail at boxoffice@bluewatersummerplayhouse.com, or visit www.bluewatersummerplayhouse.com