REVIEW – Charlie & My ’45, Tightlaced Theatre, Augustine United Church

*****

Charlie & My '45

Charlie & My '45

As director Jennifer McGregor introduces Charlie & My ’45, she is almost apologetic about classing it as a ‘work in progress’ – it being a short two-handed piece evolved from a rehearsed reading by actor and writer Robert Howat.

On the strength of this – its opening performance – she and Tightlaced Theatre have nothing to be sorry about.

This is a finely-paced and poignant exploration of loyalty, idealism and betrayal set against the backdrop of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. It features a convincing, balanced performance from Howat himself as clansman Jamie, on a physical and personal journey as he travels south under the command of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Although no doubt in part due to the limited funds and timeboxed planning, casting Adrienne Zitt in the dual roles of wife and harlot is extremely effective. She ably portrays the inner thoughts and emotions beneath two characters who could easily have been stereotypes. Instead, in her hands they become reflections of each other – and of Jamie’s developing character.

It will be interesting to see how the company’s plans to develop Charlie & My ’45 into a longer piece play out. With a longer running length, its themes could be given more room to breathe and grow; and a little more time could be spent on fleshing out the character of Jamie’s wife, Mary. Though on the basis of Howat’s and Zitt’s performances, there is certainly no need to lengthen the cast list.

Charlie & My ’45 has a short run at Augustine United Church, with performances at 6pm on May 7th; and 2pm and 6pm on May 8th. Tickets are priced at £5.

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