Stu­dio 2 com­edy digs deep

Sets, char­ac­ters, di­rec­tor score a hat trick in ‘Hockey Mom Hockey Dad’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - Len­nie MacPher­son, a Char­lot­te­town­based writer, ac­tor and mu­si­cian, writes theatre re­views for The Guardian dur­ing the sum­mer months. He wel­comes feed­back at mock­my­

You’d swear you had just walked into an old com­mu­nity rink. The at­mos­phere cre­ated in Stu­dio 2 is metic­u­lous. The ban­ners, the scaf­fold­ing, the printed no­tices, the wear and the grime and the can­teen! 50/50 slingers try to court you with their per­son­al­ized ca­dence, “fiFT-AYY, fiFT-AYY.”

Be­fore the puck drops, I have to rec­og­nize the work of Set De­signer Cory Sin­cennes. It’s a truly im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. Sound and light­ing de­sign are cru­cial here, as well, both to the chilly and fa­mil­iar am­bi­ence and as a rimshot to gags.

“Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad” is a nifty lit­tle two-han­der that toys with col­lo­quial quirks and uni­ver­sal as­pi­ra­tions.

We, the au­di­ence, are on the ice, look­ing into the stands. The rarely oc­cu­pied ones in the back cor­ner. As a kid, you might have searched un­der­neath for bot­tle caps to see if there’s a win­ner.

Matthew Camp­bell is a hoot, un­leashed in this role as Teddy. He’s ob­nox­ious, yet lov­able; ridicu­lously ex­citable, but earnest; an un­pol­ished char­ac­ter plucked right from the rink.

Mi­nor hockey is surely the only game that had to in­tro­duce a na­tion­wide advertising cam­paign telling par­ents to sim­mer down. Af­ter my time, but I think the line was “Re­lax, it’s just a game.”

Well, Teddy is more likely to call you a lazy wiener than to at­tack you in the park­ing lot af­ter­wards, but he too takes it se­ri­ously - one of many par­ents pro­ject­ing his own as­pi­ra­tions onto those kids. Teddy’s not all bull­horn and arm-wav­ing, how­ever. His com­ment on the mu­sic at the fam­ily skate re­veals a less peg-able per­son.

He’s af­ter the meek and quiet Donna, played by Bryde Ma­cLean. She’s out of her el­e­ment in the stands - or any­where near a sheet of ice. Her fee­ble at­tempts at cheer­ing don’t clear the boards. But she says much with her guarded, of­ten word­less re­ac­tions, like a smile tucked into her shoul­der.

The script is a tome of hockey talk that Michael Mel­ski has im­bued with ex­pe­ri­ence and ado­ra­tion. And di­rec­tor Adam Bra­zier has ob­vi­ously had fun cap­tur­ing the high­lights.

For the cen­ten­nial in 1973, be­fore I ever laced my skates, a bunch of small com­mu­ni­ties in P.E.I. used their dol­lop of fund­ing to build mod­est rinks. Like churches, they’ve had to adapt their scope of ser­vices or risk los­ing their con­gre­ga­tions. But amid the cold and diesel fumes, these were once bas­tions of small town Cana­dian cul­ture.

Un­der this old bot­tle cap, bent and dis­carded, is a win­ner.

Len­nie MacPher­son Set The Stage

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