This One’s For You Londoners! A Review of This London Life at the Grand Theatre
This London Life is a brand new production commissioned by artistic director Dennis Garnhum. According to the program, it is the first of five commissions under a program called “COMPASS” that will guide playwrights to tell stories for the Grand Theatre stage. The play is both written and directed by Morris Panych, who has previously appeared on the Grand Theatre stage himself. Needless to say, this show is a great representation of the 2019/20 tagline: “World Curious. London Proud.”
The comedic show follows the story of a foster child named Walter (played by Ryan Shaw) and his neighbour, “Nan” (Wendy Thatcher), who have just brought home a first year university student named Emery Thompson. Nan has agreed to take care of Emery (Braeden Soltys) as a favour to a friend, but cannot anticipate the antics that will ensue as a result. Nan and Walter soon discover that the man (Allister MacDonald) that they had whisked away from the airport was not the university student that they were expecting; they have brought a suspicious man from England into their home.
The plot of the show is very lighthearted and fun, and it is sure to illicit laughs. As an individual who spends a lot of their time in London, I was thrilled to see this production. The show did not disappoint with jokes about various London locations. I do admit some jokes seemed rather specific, so it is possible that a person who is not as familiar with the area would feel left out by quite a few jokes in the production. For example, I was left out of the humour when bus routes were referenced. The show is most accessible by individuals that have known London for the majority of their life. Panych, however, includes a selection of jokes that even those who know nothing about London would enjoy.