Tuesday, November 4, 2003 ____________ARTS ________The Hamilton Spectator /D13

A play to make spirits soar

 

Foster comedy at Theatre Aquarius is just the antidote to dreary November

 
by Gary Smith  
Janet Monid as Angel in Here On The Flight Path
 

Need a laugh? Do youself a favour. Get to Here On The Flightpath, an insightful comedy that rips the lid off male-female relationships.

You can almost always count on Norm Foster to give your spirits a lift. But, when you have a trenchant, two-character comedy that also starts the prolific playwright--along with his sensational wife Janet Monid--you just know you're in for a treat.

Flightpath is a hilarious look at a screwed-up nerd's relationships with three attractive women. For John Cummings, living on the edge of Toronto's Pearson Airport, the coming and going of jet planes is simply a metaphor for the way life flies by. When you don't grab tomorrow by the tail, you're left on the edge of the runway, on the outskirts of life.

Cummings is a lonesome, likable man who is strung out by a failed marriage and uncertain of his macho attraction. That his aborted attempts at romance with a string of comely female neighbours turns out to alter his oh-so masculine perceptions of love, provides the serious undertow in Foster's comedy.

Here is a male playwright who can write about women without any masculine predjudice. Here is a man who can cut past our preoccupations with fast food and one night stands. And here is a playwright who can create a troubled world in which loneliness and regret knock loudly at the door when you don't take your chance at love.

The Aquarius production of Foster's comedy is deliriously performed. No one is better at fashioning the heart and soul of the lovable galoot than our Norm. He somehow makes sad sacks desperately believable. Before the evening is through, you long to clap your arm around John Cummings' ample shoulder and say, "Hey guy, let's go for a beer. Life isn't as bad as you think."

And Monid? Well, she's simply terrific. She creates three disctinctly different characters here without much aid of visual distraction. She does it the way it's done best, with change of body language and timbre of voice.

As fulsome Fay, she's a hooker with a heart, a woman who longs for something more than high-priced quickies in lonely hotel rooms. As Angel Plunkett, she's a sweetly comic battered spirit, shrieking out a discordant Don't Rain On My Parade, like some demented Barbra Streisand, dreaming of celebrity, but all the while really longing for love. As strung-out Gwen, she's a frustrated loser longing to come up trumps, a free-spirited individual curiously chained by convention. In everything she does here, Monid is right on the money.

To make matters perfect, designer Stephen Newman has provided a realistic terrian for Foster and Monid to perambulate as they play out their innocent games of love.

If I were you, I wouldn't wait. I'd call the Aquarius box office right now before it's too late. Why? Because you deserve Here On The Flightpath to buoy up your soggy spirits. As far as I'm concerned, it's the perfect antidote to a dreary November day.