Let’s say you could create the perfect community. The perfect town. Weed out the bad; keep the good, garden until you have perfection. What would the limits be? How would you choose who to keep and whom to remove? Ottawa Little Theatre’s latest production: Dr. Cook’s Garden attempts to answer that question.
Not convinced yet? In our special preview, director Jim McNabb talks about Dr. Cook’s Garden and we take a look at one of the scenes from the play.
For lovers of the written word, here’s the rest of the review in print form:
Written by renowned playwright Ira Levin, Dr. Cook’s Garden follows Jim Tennyson, a young 27 year-old Doctor fresh out of medical school who returns to visit the small Vermont town where he grew up. Upon arrival though, Jim begins to suspect that his happiest little town in possibly the whole world might owe their happiness to the gardening and removal of “bad weeds” in the town by his old mentor and almost father, Doctor Cook.
Ira Levin knows how to write a thriller, he penned Deathtrap, Rosemary’s Baby, & The Stepford Wives – but what he really pens here is his own moral compass on issues like capital punishment and vigilante justice. While the script itself is by far one of Ira Levin’s weakest, Director Jim McNabb is able to grab the audience right off the bat and hold their attention through the hour and 45 minute run time – largely through spot on casting with Cameron Preyde and Barry Daley playing Doctor’s Tennyson & Cook respectively. Without the proper leads this play would have fallen into the dredges that can sometimes kill community theatre.
Ottawa Little Theatre has been running for almost 100 seasons and, largely based on its great reputation, there are high expectations to be maintained. From the casting to the art direction and, especially, the set design. Honestly, the Ottawa Little Theatre has some of the finest and greatest sets I have ever seen; so much so that it rivals professional companies like the NAC. Dr. Cook’s Garden keeps in line with that tradition.
Ignoring a couple of false beats in the second act like a somewhat awkward feeling fight scene, Dr. Cook’s Garden will bring you you to the edge of your seat, and give you plenty to think about. Many people, including my producer and I, left the theatre discussing the merits of the justice system and capital punishment.
You have until November 5 to check it out. Check out their website for ticket information.
Photo in this article taken for Production Ottawa by Allan Mackey.
Video production courtesy of Valley Wind Productions, produced by Allan Mackey.