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Cook, Michael.

Toronto. Playwrights Canada, c1984. 81pp, paper, $5.95. ISBN 0-88754-385-5. Distributed by Playwrights Union of Canada, 8 York St., 6th Floor, Toronto, Ont..M5J 1R2

Grade 4 and up
Reviewed by Louise Griffith

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

The Fisherman's Revenge by Michael Cook is a delightful mixture of farce and romantic comedy with a Newfoundland setting. The writing is excellent and the play gives the actors a lot of scope for action and special effects. It could be presented effectively in a classroom or given an elaborate production with lighting, scenery, and costumes and properties.

A poor fisherman named Joe and his attractive daughter Colleen are unable to pay their debt to the town merchant. The Jailer's pugilistic wife forces him to demand payment and a fracas follows in which the merchant goes into the water. The ensuing court case combines farce, slapstick, wit, and humour in a most ingenious manner. Throughout, a stage manager rings a bell to announce scene changes; an echo of Thornton Wilder's Happy Journey.

The Newfoundland marine atmosphere is evoked by the author's skilful use of description. "See how smoothly the boat glides/flat fish and tansies slide in its shadow,/even the crab looks up at their passing. "The delightful daughter Colleen is balanced by the merchant's pugilistic wife. Her husband says, "She's got money mania. She eats soft boiled cash registers for breakfast, roast hundred dollar bills for lunch, fried lottery tickets for dinner and bingo cards for a late night snack." This hyperbole reinforces the farcical elements, while the hero uses disguise to play a dual role.

This is among the very best of the regional plays written in Canada recently. It could be used for a dramatic arts class or presentation. It could also be presented by adults in any community with great success. Its theme is that virtue is rewarded and its appeal is broader than the Atlantic provinces. The play toured Newfoundland and Labrador in 1976. It deserves to be shown to the rest of Canada. Michael Cook, an associate professor at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland, is to be congratulated for his fine play. I enjoyed reading it and I would love to see it performed.

Louise Griffith. Agincourt, Ont.
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