Get to know Norm Foster’s irresistible ‘On A First Name Basis’
When veteran stage director Jeremy Dutton saw a production of Norm Foster’s play ‘On A First Name Basis’ in St. Catharines recently he knew two things right away: first, the show is a deliciously irresistible winner, and second, he just had to bring it here to Perth.
On A First Name Basis is one of Norm Foster’s more recent plays, and it proves that the tools he has wielded so skillfully for years as a playwright — humour, heart, and humanity — have become even sharper with age.
As the play opens we meet David Kilbride, a reclusive spy novelist who has employed the same maid, Miss Hopperstaad, for some 20 years. David realizes one day that he knows absolutely nothing about this woman who has served him for two decades — not even her first name. She, on the other hand, knows all the details of his life: his three wives, the sorry state of his current manuscript (she tidies his desk, after all) and where he keeps the good scotch. Disgusted with his own superficiality, Kilbride proposes that they drop the master-servant proprieties for a few hours and get to know one another, at long last, on a first name basis. With the help of the aforementioned scotch, their long bottled-up personal lives — and feelings — begin to surface. The dialogue is swift and laugh-out-loud funny, the emotions are real, and we find ourselves caring about these two separate souls as they emerge from behind the transparent wall of their shared existence.
This is a simple, intimate, remarkably engaging show starring two of the Studio Theatre’s finest veteran actors, Hugh McCulloch and Krista Duff. In the hands of these two mature and capable players –and under the direction of Jeremy Dutton, known for his skill with humour as well as drama — On A First Name Basis is a play that’s well worth getting to know.
On A First Name Basis premieres at the Studio Theatre on Thursday, February 1 for seven shows, Feb. 1, 2, 3, 9 & 10 at 7:30 pm and Feb. 4 & 11 at 2 pm.
Advance tickets are $24 and are now available exclusively at Tickets Please in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (613 485-6434; ticketsplease.ca) which accepts in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases.
Tickets are $24 at the Studio Theatre box office on show nights. Rush tickets for Students with ID are just $10 at the door, subject to availability. Attend opening night and save $5!
On A First Name Basis is Norm Foster at his absolute best. We invite you to enjoy it as a warm entertainment on a cold winter evening, or as an early Valentine’s gift to someone you love.
In rehearsal: Hugh McCulloch and Krista Duff star as novelist David Kilbride and housekeeper Lucy Hopperstaad in Norm Foster’s comedy/drama ‘On A First Name Basis’, premiering at the Studio Theatre Thursday, February 1st at 7:30. Visit studiotheatreperth.com for further details.