Wednesday, October 22, 2014

the rainmaker | responses

"There’s beauty in this simplicity, and it’s rooted in language, which the play uses in both florid and simple ways ... Persuasively, director Ron Reed and his company hold this material in an affectionate embrace. Ryan Scramstad is hilarious as the slow-witted Jim. Scramstad makes the guy as fresh and sweet as a new ear of corn and he gets his laughs by speaking his lines with utter sincerity. Andrew Wheeler’s H.C. is the salt of the earth and so full of affection for Lizzie that it’s heartbreaking. John Voth’s File is the most contained characterization of the evening, and a lovely case study in just how naturalistically this material can be played. And relative newcomer Pippa Johnstone impresses as Lizzie; the role is pivotal and the play’s naive style is difficult but Johnstone consistently makes emotional sense of it." | Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

"A magnificent production of a brilliant classic. I had forgotten the depth of perception and emotion the script contains. The actors conveyed these qualities with tender strength." | Anne-Marie Epp, audience response

"Salvador’s performance is slickly enjoyable. Until almost the end he doesn’t let us know whether this guy is for real or not. Johnstone does a very nice job with Lizzie, too, showing her vulnerability and insecurity as well as her strength." | Jerry Wasserman,

"The Rainmaker is such a fine production in the most perfect of venues. I really enjoy the intimacy of the Pacific Theatre. The set is solidly effective. The squeaky screen door, the dusty/dirty floors. The room was indeed a bit on the warm side, but heck, we were in a drought. Everything about the set was just perfectly considered and placed. The music fit into the production with precision. I found the story itself to be powerful — although I could imagine that the actual impact and interpretation of the story might vary from person to person. I’ll also admit that I had a few tears at the end. And, as perhaps the most critical element of any theatrical work, this production is superbly cast with amazingly talented actors. Each of them should be very proud of their hard work in entertaining us theatre-goers so well. As perhaps my highest form of compliment – I am returning to see this same production again this week. Very, very well done folks." | Kenneth C., audience response

"As comforting as homemade pumpkin pie. You know Lizzie is going to get a man, you know the rainmaker is a conman and, shucks, you know it’s gonna rain. The play goes where our hearts want it to go; it’s just a matter of how long it takes to get there and what surprises we might meet along the way." Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier

"The play oozes with timeless concepts of trust, hope, love, and self-discovery, which explains its continued revival on stages worldwide. Director Ron Reed’s production is one such must-see gem. ... The Rainmaker is about individuals discovering their true selves." | Cora Li, Vancouverscape

"I LOVED the Rainmaker! It was funny without being ridiculous. It had believable characters whom all blended well together. The casting was great and the set simple, yet flexible. It was wonderful to leave the theatre feeling so positive with a good dose of hope on top!" | Shannon Bell, audience response

"This production boasts some very powerful performances that capture both the cornpone humour and the almost operatic passion. Andrew Wheeler as the tired and hopeful father is riveting and while he remains devoted to his children, he can still see their flaws. Ryan Scramstrad as the younger, simpler brother finds all the humour of this 1950’s himbo, but with such a great big heart that he often devastates. Robert Salvador is Starbuck, the charlatan rainmaker who holds promise for Lizzie and her family, and has the sexy conman down, but also finds the earnest romantic that makes you root for him. Pippa Johnstone as Lizzie has the self-accepted heaviness of someone who has lived life as a ‘plain girl’ and she finds so much cautious joy when she thinks she is going on a date that it breaks your heart." | David C. Jones, Vancouver Presents

"It was good to enter their lives entering a drought stricken farm and their survival, and then see the struggle that Lizzie faced along with a caring father a caring yet adolescent brother while the other brother handled family members like he ran the ranch. Very intriguing to watch family dynamics." | Beatrice Vanderbos, audience response

"This is a lovely production with a cozy set designed brilliantly by John Webber. With Thanksgiving upon us and Christmas just around the corner, this is a great kick off to the holiday season with its heartwarming sentimentality and family dynamics." | Alan Woo, Fun Fun Vancouver

"In the final analysis, it is all the same: whether you want it to rain or you can’t wait for someone to make it stop raining, you must be prepared to immerse yourself in your hopes and dreams, transcend your sins, and finally become who you really are meant to be. This is the synthesis that director Ron Reed has managed to weave artfully into the Pacific Theatre’s excellent 2014 production of The Rainmaker." - Roger Eberle, Review Vancouver

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