The Port Stanley Festival Theatre opened its second production of the 2015 season
on Thursday June 11th, and if early audience response was anything to go by, it
promises to be a "good one". Norm Foster's "Hilda's Yard" opened to a full house
and standing ovations.
Featuring an ensemble cast, led by husband and wife team David Talbot and Marcia
Tratt, "Hilda's Yard" is a recent play by Norm Foster, a long-time favourite of
Port Stanley audiences. What separates it from the bulk of Fosters work is that
it is a period piece. Fans of the playwright will enjoy all of the hallmarks of
his other work, the instantly recognizable characters and the parade of one-liners,
but they will enjoy them within the framework of a 1950's perspective.
As the play opens, the year is 1956, "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Why Do Fools Fall in
Love?" are on the radio, and Sam and Hilda are celebrating the recent departure
of their children, 33 year old Gary (played by Ryan Jacobs), and 30 year old Janey
(played by Elisabeth Lagerlof). As they anticipate their golden years with the purchase
of a "21 inch Zenith console television set", it soon becomes obvious that their
happiness is to be short lived. Gary returns having lost his job and his new apartment,
and Janey arrives, suitcase in hand, for a "visit"... their "happiness balloon" is
indeed burst. The plot thickens with the arrival of Gary's girlfriend, the trombone-playing
Bobbi (Alison Smyth) and a mysterious gangster (Allan Cooke), as events unfold to
great comic effect.
The cast is universally strong, with Cooke as Beverly the gangster being a particular
audience favourite, and Talbot and Tratt doing stellar work as the beleaguered Sam
and Hilda. Local designer Eric Bunnell firmly places the play within its period,
aided by the costumes of Alex Amini and the lighting design by Noel Wraight. Directed
by PSFT Artistic Director Simon Joynes, "Hilda's Yard" runs until July 4th. Tickets
are still available but selling fast, so book early for a laugh filled evening (or
afternoon) at the theatre.
PSFT 2015 Playbill