By Mike Renzella | The Haldimand Press
July 27, 2023
PORT DOVER—2023 has been a year of great, emotional comedy at Lighthouse Theatre and Where You Are – the newest show to hit their Port Dover stage – is no exception, bringing another heaping serving of the laughs and pathos that are the bread and butter of Lighthouse’s ever-popular summer series.
Directed by Jane Spence from a script by Kristen Da Silva, Where You Are tells the story of Glenda and Suzanne, two aging sisters who live together and sell homemade jam out of their small home on Manitoulin Island. When Suzanne’s daughter Beth comes home for a summer visit, secrets are revealed, relationships are put to the test, and life-changing decisions are made.
The play stars Susan Henley as Glenda, Melanie Janzen as Suzanne, Caroline Toal as Beth, and Gaelan Beatty as their good-natured neighbour Patrick.
Janzen and Henley make for a great comic duo in the show, gamely throwing one-liners at each other throughout, and believably selling the play’s more dramatic moments, the most touching of which revolve around their long-lasting, genuine friendship.
Toal imbues her character Beth with a believable vulnerability, proving a great foil to Janzen and Henley’s comedic exploits. While her character may be a bit hard-headed at times, it’s clear that Beth deeply loves her mom and aunt, and the childhood home she has returned to.
As the neighbour Patrick, Beatty brings the charm, making a great straight man to the comedy flying around on stage and displaying a natural chemistry with Toal as the two character’s stories begin to entwine over the course of the show.
Director Spence stages the show lightly, making the best of a witty script and more-than-capable performers. She described what drew her to the show, “It shares a powerful message about the difficulties that arise when secrets are kept, even with the best intentions. It explores what it means to love unconditionally, examining the struggles we sometimes face to give our loved ones the room to live life on their own terms, especially when their choices may differ from the ones we would make for them.”
Where You Are marks Spence’s fifth show for Lighthouse, also taking on this year’s On The Air earlier in the season.
Writer Da Silva is also no stranger to the Lighthouse stage, having also written Sugar Road, Beyond the Sea, and Hurry Hard, and appearing as an actor as well. Her shows have been mounted at several venues around Ontario, and for good reason; Da Silva’s shows are guaranteed to be two things: hilarious and sincere.
Where You Are is playing at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Theatre until August 5. It then moves Port Colborne’s Roselawn Theatre from August 9-20.
For more information, visit lighthousetheatre.com, where you can find information on showtimes for this show and the remainder of Lighthouse’s 2023 summer season.
Up next at the theatre is the Young Company production of Robin Hood, which is running from August 9-12, followed by the World Premiere of Norm Foster’s latest show, A Pack of Thieves, and the season topper, Opry Gold.