Portland Press Herald

LIFESTYLE

 

Posted January 23

 

Updated January 23

Theater review: Love helps overcome hardships in ‘Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun’

The heartwarming play is running at Footlights Theatre in Falmouth.

BY APRIL BOYLE

Cheryl Reynolds, left, Ryan Lane and Hope Milne in

Cheryl Reynolds, left, Ryan Lane and Hope Milne in "Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun." Photo courtesy of The Footlights Theatre

Norm Foster has become Canada’s most produced playwright, largely for his lighthearted comedies. “Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun” showcases his diversity, offering a poignant combination of heart and humor, intermingling emotional tears with tears of laughter, as it explores real-life themes of love, devotion and obligation.

Claire Castle (Cheryl Reynolds) is utterly devoted to her 35-year-old son Robert (Ryan Lane), who suffered a severe brain injury as a child that stunted his emotional and mental growth to that of a 7-year-old. As his sole caregiver, Claire worries who will look after Robert when she is gone.

Nearby, a young woman named Holly Fitch (Hope Milne) struggles with her own obligations after learning that she is going to be a single mother. When Robert and Holly have a chance meeting at the local bus stop, a friendship is forged that changes all their lives.

“Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun” is a heartwarming play about hope and perseverance amidst adversity. Foster has layered the play with tiers of meaning, deriving the title of the play from a framed needlepoint that hung on Robert’s bedroom wall when he was a kid: “Before this glorious life is done, I shall kiss the moon and kiss the sun.”

Claire is the moon that watches over Robert at night, and Robert is the sun that brightens up Claire’s days.

Director Michael J. Tobin has assembled a charming cast to bring “Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun” to the intimate Footlights Theatre. Lane is lovable as the childlike Robert, cracking up the audience with his character’s guileless naivety.

Lane hits his mark with timed precision, aided by Milne as Holly. Milne offers up the perfect amount of worldliness, maintaining a touch of innocence befitting a young woman accustomed to hardship.

Reynolds packs an emotional punch as Claire, tugging at the heartstrings with her character’s unwavering love for Robert.

Jeffrey Gillenwater and Gretchen G. Wood round out the cast as Holly’s baby daddy, Simon Garvey, and Claire’s doctor, Doctor Andrews. The pair serve as the fly in the ointment, adding adversity that forces the characters to take on responsibility and persevere against the odds.

With the month of Cupid and relationships just around the corner, the Footlights Theatre has wisely chosen a love story that goes deeper than the typical seasonal romantic comedy. “Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun” captures the emotional value of relationships born out of hardship while maintaining the importance of trying to get the most out of life.

IF YOU GO

What: “Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun”

Where: Footlights Theatre, 190 Route 1, Falmouth

Date reviewed: Friday, Jan. 20, runs through Feb. 4

Tickets: $18, $15 for seniors over 62, $10 students/military

Contact: (207) 747-5434, thefootlightsinfalmouth.com

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. Contact her at:

aprilhboyle@yahoo.com.

Twitter: @ahboyle