APRIL 2013 PRODUCTION - LONDON, ON
delilah - heartwarming
Written by Jamie-Lee Wilson, April 4, 2013
For The Beat Magazine, London, ON
A Premier Production
Written By Len Cuthbert
Directed by Desiree Baker
Played by Tammy Vink (Jade), Heather May (Delilah), Ryan Cole
(Mick), Ellena Grant (Dee-J)
YFC London Youth Centre Theatre, 254 Adelaide St. S.
April 3rd, 5th, and 6that 7 p.m., matinee on April 6th at 2 p.m.
delilah, now playing at the YFC London Youth Centre Theatre,
is the full-length version of the London Fringe Festival play
which received a nomination for Best Original Script from both
the DISH Awards and The Brickendens. And a really great script
it is! Issues of child abuse and neglect, the meaning of family,
coming of age and the difficulties often associated, the right
to live as one chooses, and the right to die as one chooses are
just some of the serious themes dealt with in this sensitive,
heart-warming, and often humorous story.
The story centers on Jade, a young woman who was abandoned by
her own mother at 12 and consequently entered into the foster
care system. Despite having spent only one year with her foster
brother Micks family, they have remained close, and Jade
occasionally helps her orphaned foster brother with the responsibilities
of being guardian to his 12-year-old sister, Dee-J (Micks
parents died 9 years previously leaving him to raise Dee-J on
his own). The story opens at Dee-Js twelfth birthday party,
and is also attended by Jades roommate and best friend,
Delilah, whom Jade met when she was 12.
The character of Jade is the best developed, and Tammy Vink does
an outstanding job of reprising the role (Vink played Jade in
the Fringe 2012 and LOAF 2011 versions). With a winning combination
of toughness, vulnerability, flawed but fierce love (the best
kind) for her friends and family, and corny chicken jokes, Vink
plays Jade with humanity and leaves us feeling that we can all
hope to triumph over despair. Her body language speaks volumes
as she kicks at the ground with her hands stuffed in her pockets,
and immediately follows her humble stance with a flourish of action
and open palmed, imploring persuasion a positive force
Mick (Ryan Cole) is the long-suffering brother doing his best
to raise a girl on the brink of so much that he just has
no experience with, and does not know how to handle. Coles
tense shoulders, jerky movements, and often clipped speech, attest
to his discomfort with a role he has accepted, but certainly never
Ellena Grant plays the mutinous Dee-J with credibility, and a
lack of over-sentimentality which would be easy to fall
into with this role.
Delilah is an oddly underdeveloped character. Although she is
integral to the plot, she seems very much like a sideline to the
relationships that turn on her involvement like a linchpin. She
is more a device than a character, despite a heart-wrenching performance
from Heather May in the second act.
The lighting and sound were very well done. YFC London Youth
Centre Theatre is a hidden gem of a venue, far enough off the
(downtown) beaten path that it would benefit greatly from more
signage and advertising. I hope to see more production companies
take advantage of this great space.