Homegrown Story Shines
by Louis B. Hobson - Calgary Sun
June 3rd, 2011
The whole experience of visiting the hamlet of Rosebud to see Rosebud Theatre's production of W.O Mitchell's Jake and the Kid is a bit surreal.
It's like entering a time warp.
Mitchell's classic story about a Prairie family in the 1940's feels completely at home unfolding as it does, just a stone's throw from the farms and wheat fields nestled around Rosebud.
It helps that under the warm and loving direction of Karl Sine, this stage adaptation by James B. Douglas has as much heart as it does humour.
We laugh with these people - not at them - and we shed a few silent tears as the young boy deals with loss.
Conrad Belau captures the young farm boy's innocence, naivete, fears and bewilderment at having to deal with his father fighting in Europe, his missing dog and the snow storm that might kill one of the farm cats and her kittens.
In the boy's mind little tragedies are definitely on a par with global ones and we see this every step of the way in Belau's performance.
It's difficult conceiving anyone being more at home in Jake's irascible skin than Nathan Schmidt, who makes sure the hired hand is never a caricature, but rather a very real Prairie character.
As the cantankerous neighbour and the boy's mother Mike Thiessen and Glenda Warkentin are the strong support Schmidt and Belau deserve.
Rosebud and W.O. Mitchell prove once again to be made for each other.