Romance and whimsy

Observer reporter Jonas Gagnon reviews the play Loon after viewing it at the Sunset Theatre in Wells.

JONAS GAGNON

Observer Reporter

Loon is a play as colourful, bold and creative as Wells, the Cariboo town which hosted the performance for its twonight run in northern B.C.

Written, directed and casted by the duo Wonderheads, Loon has been making the circuit at fringes across western Canada and been garnering great reviews.

The Wonderheads, a duo from Portland, OR, are made up of Texan Andrew Phoenix and British Columbian Kate Braidwood, the latter of which worked at Barkerville for a time.

The play mixes melancholy and humour deftly enough to have tears of laughter and sorrow in viewers’ eyes, sometimes nearly at the same time.

Featuring a frumpy janitor, played in equal parts by Braidwood and the beautiful mask she constructed, who is unlucky in love and life, the play starts with the woeful character coming on stage with the ashes of his mother and a box of mementos from his childhood home.

Not even a telephone dating service, which includes a hilarious scene as Braidwood takes the character through a somewhat sad personal ad in which he proclaims himself a sanitation engineer, seems to help him find his special someone, until, finding his old lunch box and reigniting his love for space, he finds himself infatuated in a more adult way with celestial bodies, the moon in particular.

A fantastical tale, told through snippets of pop culture (the end lines of Casablana and Paper Moon are two that come to mind); puppetry, the mask which is Chameleon-like in its ability to portray an array of moods; a perfect, if spare, set; and a wonderfully physical turn by Braidwood.

The play is by turns a silent-era physical comedy and a melancholy cartoon; it’s almost impossible not to love.

The main character doesn’t utter a line through the play, though it could hardly be called silent. The use of a soundscape, perpetual rain along with a trip back through memory into his favorite space opera, Moon Wars, encourages the audience to imagine along with the Wonderheads to places usually kept to the big budgets and CGI tricks of Hollywood.

The cartoon quality of the character allow the Wonderheads amazing leeway, with  the man, fully infatuated with the silvery moon, tramping through Africa and swimming the ocean (presumably the Pacific) to obtain that which he desires.

The play managed to draw in the audience enough to have them whistling at the phone-dating personal ad and moaning along with the janitor as he experiences life’s bumps.

The duo reference Pixar in their introductions and the comparison is apt, though Jim Henson amd Charlie Chaplin seem to have influenced them just a much.

The play is a delightfully whimsical turn from the usual concrete world we live in.

Just Posted

Quesnel RCMP arrest alleged car thief

A police dog was called in to track the suspect this morning in North Quesnel

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

Quesnel interconnector meeting draws a big crowd

Feb. 19’s meeting had people lined up outside waiting to get in

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

B.C. runner takes silver at Pan American cross-country championships

Tyler Dozzi’s medal pushes U20 Team Canada to gold finish

Hydaburg makes it three in a row

Hydaburg came back from 10 points down in the second half to beat Aiyansh

Kitkatla end 54 year drought with title win

The Warriors defeated Hydaburg 70-67 in overtime to win the 2018 All Native Tournament title

UBCO students to get medical cannabis coverage

Kelowna - The pilot project will be implemented in April

BC BUDGET: NDP push for purpose-built rentals in ‘historic’ $1.6B investment

Hundreds of thousands of new low- and middle-income units coming over three years

BC BUDGET: More for wildfire recovery, campsites

NDP government to hire 20 more Conservation Officers this year

Most Read