16 December 2013
Theatre Columbus’s Weather the Weather or how we make it home together is a good-natured evening full of holiday spirit in the Brickworks. This uniquely Canadian story of homecoming and magic is served cold and garnished with exaggerated, amusing performances across the board.
The audience spends the duration of the play following the action around the Evergreen Brickworks at night, guided by a glowing lampshade. As the tour progresses, Weather the Weather happens all around the walkers. Haley McGee’s story certainly fits well with the geography of the setting, featuring glowing figures in the bushes and cross-lake calling between two characters. In fact, the theatrical achievement of this play is certainly linked to the way that it picks up our notions of home and suddenly scatters them across a genuinely Canadian winter evening. The site specificity is an impressive element of the presentation and the reality of the cold brings home the central thrust of the play about the sheer importance and allure of home.
Obviously, broadcasting a story to a large, mobile audience in varied terrain at night comes with its challenges and the talent, good humour and versatility of the cast is integral to the effectiveness of the story. The cast is supported by a staff of marshals who do a terrific job of shepherding the audience to their appropriate positions while ensuring that nobody takes a frozen dip or a nasty fall. The show is skillfully lit by spotlight operators who – with lights in-hand – move with the action while a somewhat interesting, goofy polka soundtrack accompanies the play in the form of a vivid orange trombone and a speaker cart.
The play is a wonderful way for a family to spend an evening: the story is simple and amusing. The glowing, oversized costuming will be fun for kids and, for those who remember the polar iteration of the Power Rangers, it will be a trip down memory lane complete with glowing antler-esque headpieces!
In all, Weather the Weather is an imaginative use of the Evergreen Brickworks and familiar tropes in children’s theatre to create an evening of fun for the whole family. Make sure you take care to bundle up before you check this play out, though by the conclusion, I’m sure it will warm your heart.