‘Looking’ is a comedy which was written in 2005 by Canada’s most produced playwright, Ontario born actor and popular morning radio show host, Norm Foster. This was his 27th play, he has now written over 50, with most of them being quirky themes about ordinary people in everyday life. In view of his being the most produced Canadian playwright ever, Foster has been awarded ‘The Playwrights Guild of Canada’s lifetime membership’, and then in 2016 he became an Officer of the Order of Canada.
This 2-hour, fun show by the Rockingham Theatre Company, takes the form of 16 very funny snippets from the lives of two couples. The shows can be seen at 8.00 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings until 15th September, with one Sunday matinée at 2.00 pm on the 9th September. Performances are at the Castle Theatre, 8 Attwood Way, Rockingham. Incidentally this fine theatre’s name and address do not seem to appear on their web page or programme.
The scene: Present day.
The sets: Various locations, tennis club, bar, sports centre, a radio station presentation studio, Andy’s home, and Val’s home. These miniature sets appeared simple, yet most effective. The construction team of Pete Scarrott, Danny Joyce and Callon Leam had the wisdom to put each prop unit on castors. The set manager was David Heckingbottom.
With 15 scene changes, an inefficient stage crew with slow scene changes could have killed this show. However, stage manager Cherry Allen’s team of five were magnificent. Each knew their task and simply moved in cleared or set a prop and moved out. Most of the changes were within 5 seconds, well done Summer Allen, Danny, Teagan Joyce and the young man.
The lighting (designer, Callon Leam) carefully picked out the ‘active’ venue if two scenes were on stage at the same time. The selection of music and sound effects was well operated by India Allen.
Two middle-aged men are in the cricket club dressing rooms, doing their loosening up exercises. One is businessman Andy (Gordon Park), a man that looks and acts older than his age. He has a strong sexual appetite, but unfortunately his approach and chat up lines are outdated, and his success rate with women has been nil for years. On the other hand, his radio show host pal, Matt (Pete Scarrott) is a quiet ‘hot’ achiever.
In the locker room of a nearby Sports Exercise Club, is Val (Cathy Cooper), a nurse who is so dedicated that she has little time to enjoy male company; however, her police officer friend, Nina (Jay Shaw), is determined to help Val get the best from life.
With the help of an newspaper dating service, the two couples decide to meet in a local pub ‘The Private Dick’.
Director Kirstie Francis has shown a great deal of skill in ensuring that this segmented script did not stagnate. By selecting four very good, well matched actors, who were dedicated to the show, the funny script came to life perfectly. With superb chemistry and interaction the show took off and kept flying. Well done.
The last Rockingham production was one of their most successful ever – packed. Strangely, the night I went to this show there was possibly one of their smallest, but still an enthusiastic, audiences. Strangely, the previous night and the following weekend have good bookings houses. None of us seemed to know why.
A good fun script presented by experts in confusion and delivery.