Presented by Fly on the Wall Theatre, Cold Comfort, written by Owen McCafferty and directed by Rod Ceballos, tells the story of Kevin Toner – a drunk who stumbles into his Da’s funeral, bottle in hand, ready to say all of the things he never had the guts to confess to his family. He is emotionally crippled. He demands answers. But his father is dead and his mother and wife are mere figments of his imagination.
David Mackett expertly owns the role of Kevin, for the entire sixty minutes, dragging the audience into this broken Irishman’s tangled world. However, despite the on-stage talent, there was not much else grasping my attention.
This play is an hour long monologue, which is a challenge in itself. The problem is that in the first ten minutes of the play, we learn that Kevin was abandoned by his mother, neglected by his father and had grown up to be an alcoholic, following in his father’s footsteps. By the time the last few minutes roll around, we have learned that Kevin was abandoned by his mother, neglected by his father and had grown up to be an alcoholic, following in his father’s footsteps. This play has its audience running in circles.
The premise of Cold Comfort has its merit. A psychologically traumatized grown man is finally coming to terms with all of the terrible things that happened in his life and is acknowledging himself for who he truly is – a clone of his father. He is creating the life he had always wished for– a dream that had been shattered when he was a wee boy. In this funeral parlor, Kevin constructs a space where his parents can co-exist. Where he has a wife who is friends with his mother and parents who compliment each other. The simple life. But his life is far from simple, and as he builds these characters in his head, his pain becomes more and more evident, his anger emanating in spurts throughout.
There are some moments which would make for powerful standalone monologues. The story of Kevin as a baby, left soaked and freezing overnight by his careless father tugs at your heartstrings. The final scene of Kevin’s bleak acceptance penetrates the audience with powerful force. This play undeniably has moments which ignite evocative imagery and make the audience feel something. However, coming from an award-winning playwright, I expected these moments to be more frequent. This piece can definitely benefit from further development and dramaturgical feedback.
Cold Comfort is playing at Tarragon Near Studio until May 4th. For tickets and more information, visit www.flyonthewalltheatre.ca.