Marion Bridge is a fitting end to an iconic theatre career

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Marion Bridge | A Wing and A Prayer Productions | Kay Meek Arts Centre | September 5 – 20, 2018

Nicola Cavendish plays to her strengths in her swan song production. Alongside two other formidable actors, Lynda Boyd and Beatrice Zeilinger, she plays the middle sister who never tires of telling them what to do. When their mother falls ill, the three sisters reunite at the family home in Cape Breton to care for her. The play is celebrating its 20th anniversary, while Cavendish marks 42 years on the stage with what she has said is most likely her final role.

Daniel Macivor’s script is full of witty lines, and the cast does them justice with skillful timing and delivery. The simple set by Tiko Kerr allowed for the dialogue among the sisters to be the focus without distracting from it. These three sisters couldn’t be more different: Theresa (Cavendish) is a nun, Agnes (Boyd) is a struggling actor who drinks too much, and Louis (Zeilinger) is a hermit who spends most of her time in front of the TV.

Of course, a family reunion usually brings up the past, and this is no exception. Louise struggles with feeling like she is considered strange and never a part of family activities, Theresa tries to reconcile her faith with her reality, and Agnes re-evaluates her life. With their distinct, quirky characters, all three of these actors were equally captivating.

We spend most of the play in the dining room with these three sisters bickering, and not much happens, but there are many laughs and some valuable lessons about the impact of our actions later in life. The final scenes when the sisters take a trip to the small town of Marion Bridge were a bit drawn out, but up until that point the pacing is effective. What really makes this production shine, though, are these talented women who bring to life these complicated, troubled characters.

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