Friday 11 October 2019

"No Change in the Weather - A Newfoundland Musical", Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre, Toronto, ON

This evening I saw No Change in the Weather - A Newfoundland Musical at the Jane Mallet Theatre.

No Change in the Weather takes some of the finest Newfoundland songs and combines them with traditional sounds and instruments, memorable characters, and a conclusion that turns the province’s past on its head, all working together to create a once in a lifetime theatre experience.

The show takes place in God’s Back Pocket, where family and friends have gathered together on a wet and foggy night for the wake of their beloved matriarch. It’s a time to revisit their past, settle old scores, and try to find a way home again. The family is divided by the history of Newfoundland and the troubles which have beset the province for the past fifty years. It’s time to right the wrongs, to laugh, argue, dance, sing, cry, and maybe even fix history. To look to the east and wait for the sun to shine through the clouds again.

It’s time to wake the truth.

You could buy a toque, sweatshirt and/or teeshirt with some of the proceeds going to charity.

The program is quite substantial and has a detailed history about the 1969 contract for Hydro Quebec to purchase power from Newfoundland, which is discussed during the play.  I didn't know anything about it so it was surprisingly interesting reading ... it was a bad deal for Newfoundland.

I've never been to this theatre.  When I bought my ticket, I thought I was buying it in the first row of the balcony, which I figured would be a great seat.  It turns out there is no balcony and row L is in the upper level ... but there is no bad seat.  There were three of us in the upper level and a staff member asked us if we wanted to be moved down to the lower level and we ended up in row F.

The story opens one night in 2000 with the death of 94-year-old Mary Margaret.  As per her wishes, she wants to be buried at sea.  Her family and friends steal her coffin and take it to her home on the water for one last night and reminisce about her, sing and drink.  Some of the songs (I recognized a few) were slower and poignant while others were fast and had everyone clapping and tapping their toes.

I didn't know what it was going to be about.  I happened to catch an ad for it on the radio ... I like musicals and I like Newfoundland (I'm from Nova Scotia).  It was interesting and educational and the actors were excellent.  The tour started in St. John's, NF, in July and has gone across Canada ... the last date is tomorrow in Toronto.

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