‘Old Love’ is a romantic comedy that was written in 2008 by morning radio show host and Canada’s most prolific playwright, Norman Foster. Some say that this comedy is a rework of a Mondoux play’s theme. Often called Canada’s Neil Simon, in 2016 Norm was awarded a lifetime membership of The Playwrights’ Guild of Canada and Order of Canada.

Melville Theatre Company’s 2-hour production can be seen at 8.00 pm in the Melville Theatre, 393 Canning Highway on the corner of Stock Road in Palmyra. The evening performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 5th December. (No Saturday 21st show). There are Sunday matinées at 2.00 pm.

Bookings:  TAZ Tix 9255-3336 or Book Online. Limited seating with Covid – PLEASE BOOK

Scene:                   Various locations in Toronto, Canada. Mainly present day but going back and forwards over three decades.

Set:                        A clever set (designer Vanessa Jensen) that looks like a Cubist painting in assorted shades of cream through to brown. There are no props or pieces of furniture, simply several cubes. For example, a 2-metre long box acts as a coffin and yet minutes later is a table in a café. A blank wall is a full-length mirror then an Art Gallery wall. The simplicity of the shapes allows the audience to immediately accept the situation without their minds being confused or cluttered by visual detail.             

Lighting and sound:        A simple design by Lars Jensen (rigged by Lars and Jacob Jensen) however, they carefully managed to isolate various characters as they related their tales to the audience. Tech operation by Vanessa Jensen.

Stage management:       Michelle Sharp and Laura Mercer.

                Persistent wooer and eternally optimistic, Bud Mitchell (Geoffrey Leeder) watches from afar as an attractive but middle-aged lady, Molly (Susan Lynch) lays a single red rose on her husband’s coffin.

Bud tells us ‘This is the story of my pursuit of a good woman’. Thirty years ago, Bud was a young ‘Road Warrior’ – a travelling salesman (Callum O’Mara). He remembers how he went to the Company’s Christmas celebration with his wife of a few months, Kitty (Nikki Di Camillo). Kitty spotted her husband’s boss, the young ambitious owner of the company, Arthur (Chris Northover). Philandering Arthur found Kitty charming and before long poor Shirley (Michelle Sharp) the drab, aging company secretary was looking for a new job.

                It was the same evening that shy Bud, who was hiding in a corner and avoiding the Yuletide celebrations, met the vibrant but respectable young Molly (Sarah Harris) – his boss’s wife ‘with a messed up life’.

May I start by saying how amazed I am that in this day and age three phones went off in the audience during the performance – one was vocally answered and another took at least 10 seconds to be answered. Then three couples chatted loudly, Please respect the actors.

This is a delightful play with warmth and fun. Award-winning director Vanessa has selected two highly experienced actors to play Bud and Molly. Geoffrey delivers his sincerely meant, but tasteless ‘chat-up lines’ with exuberance. Susan captures the sad and lonely woman who would love a better life, perfectly. Nikki Di Camillo’s opening scene is hilarious. The standard of acting was top class, however, in certain scenes the characters had to speak whilst looking towards the rear of the stage, as a result some of the dialogue was lost. A little more vocal projection?

It takes a couple of minutes to get the hang of the time changing back and forwards over the decades, but the tuned in cast kept the pace going nicely and we had a most pleasant night out.