W.O. Mitchell will get first-class therapy in Rosebud Theatre's Magic Lies

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The world premiere of Magic Lies: An Night With W.O. Mitchell feels very a lot at residence at Rosebud Theatre, the place it performs till Oct. 21.

Penned by Michell’s son Orm and daughter-in-law Barbara Mitchell, and primarily based on An Night With W.O. Mitchell, their 1997 anthology of a few of the performances items Mitchell used for his personal one-man reveals, it’s 100 minutes of reminiscences, anecdotes and excerpts from his novels, radio reveals and performs.

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Rosebud’s Opera Home stage is a perfect setting for the present as a result of, to succeed in this little hamlet, one has to cross via the form of prairie wheat fields, cattle ranches, rolling foothills, and to keep away from hitting all these darting gophers Mitchell lovingly recollects in his works.

Mitchell had a aptitude for drama, not simply in his characters and plots, however in his personal character. He was a skilled elocutionist, and cherished theatre with a ardour. Any time he carried out readings of his works, he turned these fantastic folksy characters he created.

With Rosebud’s personal Nathan Schmidt, this night of Magic Lies is in superb palms. Schmidt is a real chameleon so he can slip effortlessly into the skins of such beloved Mitchell characters as Daddy Sherry from The Kite, or Jake and the Child from the fictional Saskatchewan city of Crocus. Schmidt by no means parodies them, however somewhat turns into them.

There’s usually a rambunctious word to those characters who emerge, and Schmidt has a real bounce to his gait once they do. When they’re aged, that gait turns into a shuffle, and when they’re youngsters, there’s a impending skip to every step. The identical nuances grace Schmidt’s voice.

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Schmidt can be tasked with changing into Mitchell, as a result of Magic Lies is supposed to be a recreation of one of many Canadian icon’s precise reveals. Schmidt performs with these well-known horn-rimmed glasses, and inhales snuff, wiping his fingers every time on his sweater, till there’s the noticeable stain that so irritated his spouse Merna.

Mitchell was well-known for his unruly mop of white hair, which a wig is supposed to recreate, however it’s far too thick and thus distracting. It wants a determined thinning given all the opposite loving consideration paid to costume and efficiency.

There are too many highlights in Magic Lies to recount, however a number of demand recalling, as is the case with three younger boys, a stick of dynamite, a prairie outhouse and an aged gentleman. It’s traditional W.O. and it illustrates not simply his cheeky humour, however his genius at supplying a successful punchline to an anecdote. These have been characters and a scenario W.O. created, however The Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Handle fiasco occurred to Mitchell himself when he was a young person. It discovered him improvising Lincoln’s well-known speech all of the whereas making an attempt to take away a spittoon from his foot. There was usually a self-deprecating aptitude to Mitchell when he talked about himself.

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Designer Robyn Ayles has included a lectern on his stark set, however director Karen Johnson-Diamond by no means permits the efficiency to really feel like a lecture. She has inspired Schmidt to makes use of as a lot of the stage as doable, sitting sometimes within the huge arm chair and utilizing the lectern as if he’s checking notes, getting his snuff, or pouring himself a glass of water. All of it helps to make the present really feel so pure.

Rosebud has given this a lot deserved tribute to W.O. Mitchell life. Hopefully different theatres throughout Canada will host this manufacturing, or create certainly one of their very own, as a result of Michell is a Canadian icon who deserves to be remembered and loved.

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