A Review of McGill Drama and Theatre Department’s Latest Production: Good Morning, Townville!

Photo by Hannah Murray

Although the rain was pouring down last Friday evening, the atmosphere inside Moyse Hall was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The large crowd inside—me included—were eagerly awaiting the commencement of the McGill Drama and Theatre Department’s original production, Good Morning, Townville!. From the moment I sat down in my seat and looked toward the stage, I could tell that I was in for an immensely creative and exciting show. With the vibrant colours of the set overpowering the dimming lights, I was ready for whatever the cast and the show’s director, Professor Myrna Wyatt Selkirk, had in store.

Good Morning, Townville! is an absurdist, whimsical, and hilarious play that highlights various interpersonal relationships in the fictional setting of Townville, as well as the chaos caused by the surprise entrance of three strangers. The audience eventually discovers that Townville is in fact a realm within a game that is controlled by the young Kitty (Wyn Lumley) through a remote controller. With a myriad of amusing characters, such as the mopey Jerry (Francesco Cremonini), the goodhearted mayor, ‘Grandpa’ (Mai Kutsuna), the grandiose fortune teller, Cassandra (Dana Prather), and the shifty Marty (Olivia Marotta), it’s no wonder that Kitty is enchanted by this game. 

The play is often absurd but the characters and their connections feel authentic and real. 

After a freak accident while fighting for the game’s controller, Kitty and her friends, Annie (Yunjia Zheng) and Daphne (Brooke Baker), are transported into Townville. Though initially suspicious of the three strangers, who stand out in their black and white outfits amidst a sea of neon, the people of Townville welcome them once they pass a series of trials that prove their minds, hearts, and dance skills are worthy. Throughout their stay in Townville, the trio utilises the controller to mess with some of the residents of the town, allowing the audience to witness the unfolding of multiple storylines. For example, after scaring Cassandra, the fortune teller runs away and leaves her store vacant. This allows the sly and money-hungry Aunt Witch (Berfin Şimşek) to discover that the pompous and wealthy George (Loïc Bernardo Marques) is in love with Cassandra. Kitty herself is in love with Toby (Meriem Naas), the mayor’s grandson and a fan of all things bouncy, and uses the device to enable the pair to play a game with a bouncy ball. 

Though all seems silly and fun, the lives of all the merry citizens of Townville are turned upside down when they become aware of the controller and the fact that they are not ‘real’ people in control of their life. In fact, the town troubadour, the Bard (Rose Noskwith) created them to have some friends. This revelation shocks the town, however, the citizens are eventually able to reconcile with this truth and appreciate the community they’ve formed. As the sun sets on the picturesque town, Annie and Daphne depart back home, while Kitty stays with her new friend Toby and the rest of Townville:  it is clear that all is well once more.

Although Townville’s intricate, ‘Pleasantville-esque’ plot is certainly admirable, I think the true heart of the play is rooted in the actors’ chemistry. The cast not only embodies their respective roles, but they also have a wonderful rapport that leads to an enjoyable viewing experience. Each character’s relationship with another felt unique and special, which made them all easy to cheer on. From the cousinly love shared between Jerry and Tommy (Camylla Wiser), Tommy’s betrayal after selling the chicken, named Alabaster, felt all the more poignant, even under its clear comedic guise. Marty’s shiftiness is perfectly matched by his compatriot, Constantine (Atticus Mehers), who is desperately searching for his kidney. The play is often absurd but the characters and their connections feel authentic and real. 

Good Morning, Townville! is a genuinely funny play, anchored by committed actors and the authentic chemistry they share.

Townville’s inclusion of music is also a praiseworthy aspect of the production. The very first strums of the Bard’s ukulele, which served to introduce the various characters of Townville, utilised the music of Simon & Garfunkel, Joan Jett, and more, setting the characters up flawlessly. Noskwith should be commended for her musical chops, as they greatly add to the final product. The cast’s comedic skill should also be noted, as each actor found a way to imbue a sense of humour into their respective roles. Overall, Good Morning, Townville! is a genuinely funny play, anchored by committed actors and the authentic chemistry they share.

At the end of the play, the cast truly deserved the standing ovation they received. Getting to see this play reminded me of how vital it is to support McGill’s creative productions. Seeing a play put together by a talented, impassioned array of students was a delight and something I’d encourage many others to do, if they have the chance.

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