By Chris Marchand
There’s a terrifying dynamic that happens in one-person shows that I’ve noticed. Coming in cold and utterly exposed to crushing uncertainty, the actor or actress has just a few moments to gain a foothold in your heart, to push the right combination of buttons to sweep us up along for the ride.
In times such as these where the Millenial and Baby Boomer generations seem to have little respect for each other’s ethos, the somewhat older Dryden Entertainment Series crowd might be a tough room for Rebecca Perry’s coffeeshop girl ‘Joanie Little’ — if she wasn’t so damn easy to root for.
The quirky Joanie Little goes to work pushing those buttons, the archeology graduate forced to settle for a lesser existence as a barista, employing her skills in observing natural environments on the various creatures inhabiting the coffeeshop and returning home to one-sided conversations with a photograph of Jane Goodall. She’s tired, lonely and losing hope in her dreams, until the day a special guy walks through the door and things turn around in a big way.Maybe Joanie’s journey is a little too perfect. We do, after all, see her realize her wildest dreams in a little over an hour. But it’s a fun ride and Perry has crafted a deserving, entertaining character.Joanie’s appeal is greatly enhanced by frequent bursts into carefully chosen songs (aided by some skillful live piano accompaniment) that served to balance the show and move the plot along and showcase Perry’s talent as a vocalist.Perry spent the day doing a musical theatre workshop with Grade 8 Fine Arts students from Open Roads school, many of whom turned up for the impressive performance.
The Dryden Entertainment Series returns March 27 with a presentation of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.