Reviewed by Judith Caldwell
The Festival Theatre in Port Dover is premiering Rum Runners, a musical by Derek Ritschel & Steve Thomas. It is set in the 1920s and as the name implies is a story about running alcohol across Lake Erie during prohibition, so there were lots of allusions to local geography and stories. Although it is a musical and there were some hilarious moments, it is really quite a moving drama with the villain of the piece turning out to be the lake itself. The music is a seamless part of the storytelling and ranged from the very moving ‘Dear Annie’ sung by Rigby in the first act to the wonderfully hilarious ‘Everything is All Right’ in Act II.
The cast, Katie Edwards as Grace, Duff MacDonald as Rigby, Rebecca Puff as Billie, Grant Tilly as King and Self Woods as Bags, were really good with Duff MacDonald standing out as the clear audience favourite. My only problem with this excellent production was the writing of the part for Grace in Act I. She came across as being very artificial where all the others projected realism. Katie Edwards did a good job of playing her, but needed better lines in Act I, she definitely improved in Act II. I would recommend seeing this and supporting the local talent.
Port Dover is within easy driving distance from most of Southern Ontario and is a lovely lake front town with a beach, a main street with wonderful craft shops and the Erie Beach Hotel which has two dining rooms, one casual and the other more formal. We ate in the Cove Room and it was like dining at Grandmas’ with interesting local food – who knew pickled pumpkin was so good?- locally caught yellow perch and genuine home-made pies. Do bring a hearty appetite.
Unless you are an avid motorcyclist do avoid the place on any Friday 13th as this is THE gathering place for North America’s biking community.
*Editor’s note: – As a ‘biker Chick’ (see O.A.R. Archives – May 10th, ’12) a Friday 13th visit is de rigeuer to meet other bikers; check out their rides; and buy ‘cycle stuff cheap. Plus it’s a new friends ‘op’ from among the 200,000 other aficionados. E.T.G.