By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
Look at the Town! (Stage 35, La Cité Francophone Theatre)
How can you possibly resist the sweet charms of a tale set in a miniature town, with a tiny perfect houses, a Thrift Store, not one but two Him Tortons, a hockey rink where everyone goes to hang out, a temple (that’s new), a Little Mar ( the “t” has fallen off).
The above, my friends, is a rhetorical question. You can’t. Come on, there’s even a teeny bin behind the Mall Mart, the big-box store, overflowing with teeny recycle-able packaging.
“I feel another great thought coming on,” says 11-year-old Isabel (the delightful Briane Jang) in Look at the Town!, a sort of miniaturized Grover’s Corners. Here’s one: “Just because something is true doesn’t mean you have to stop saying it.”
Smart kid, Isabel. In the course of this irresistible little play by Kenneth Brown for persons of all ages, including those in the single-digit bracket, an urban activist will be born. Isabel, who lives with her opinionated grandpa (Bob Rasko), has figured out that the drift into corporatization will destroy not just the spirit but the economic viability of the town.
And it’s been bad for the general tone, too. The high-holiday festivities, including the Christmas concert and Halloween have been cancelled by the school principal, a shrieky old-school grotesque (Melissa Blackwood). And Isabel and her best friends Jake (Bob Rasko) who’s hockey-mad and Gwendolyn (Candice Fiorentino) who’s really good at school, will end up doing something creative about it. In this they will be inspired by Isabel’s grandpa’s favourite expression, but I can’t tell you what that is, because it would give away the surprise.
The seasons change. So does the lighting. And a little town gets a new life. (Come and tour it with the actors before the show starts).