by Claire Carter
I must begin this post with full disclosure. I am a big fan of the Blyth Festival. I love that the performances feature locally relevant topics, and exclusively Canadian plays. I love visiting Blyth Memorial Hall, sitting in either the upper or lower balcony, and enjoying a world-class show in a Huron County village of 1,000 people.
I have been lucky enough that each of the recent productions I have attended have had bonus events. Last year, I enjoyed a country dinner before a play (dinners take place Friday and Saturdays at different locations in Blyth, including churches, community centres and the Legion). The meal was lovingly prepared, and ended with so many different types of pie! This year, the Huron Tourism Association was hosting the evening I attended. Sweets and appetizers featuring local ingredients were available from local eateries and hotels, including Queens Bakery, Benmiller Inn and Samuels.
I was lucky enough to attend Kitchen Radio at the Blyth Festival on June 26. The performance I attended was the day before the official opening, but as an audience member, I would have thought the show had been on stage for years.
Written and directed by Marion de Vries, the musical is set in 1968, and features a mainly female cast. The play examines the relationship that women have with each other and music. The play was captivating, and seemed to feature each of the four strong main characters equally, developing their personalities through song and dance. The set and costumes were both fantastic. Charming and funny, I found myself in good company with the rest of the audience, laughing and grinning at the on-stage antics. Locally relevant tie-ins were made throughout the play, my favourite being that CKNX was the station being listened to over the radio. Over a week later, many of the songs are still stuck in my head. The YouTube clip below shows dress rehearsal of Kitchen Radio, and will give you an idea of the fun music and choreography you can expect in this play.
The Blyth Festival offers Canadian written and produced plays from late June through early September. This season, four plays are set on the Mainstage (Blyth Memorial Hall): Kitchen Radio, Billy Bishop Goes to War, Stag and Doe and St. Anne’s Reel. The Young Company presents Out of this World from August 27-30, and Radio: 30 is on stage at Phillips Studio from September 4-6.
Blyth, ON N0M 1H0
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