"Moose on The Loose" is a joyful deep dive into a random and remote world, but with the best of offerings for its audience. 'Moose' is a truly funny play that reveals, quite specifically for us, the heart of the Italian Canadian immigrant experience circa early 1970's.
Masterfully written by Dina Morrone and cleverly directed by Peter Flood for Theatre West, the play often has twelve plus actors on stage, with individuals moving as a tight unit, like a music score popping off zingers, one liners and complete stories all revealing a natural flow that is simply a joy to take in.
"Moose on The Loose", is the story of the Tappino family; a multi-generational immigrant Italian Family (recently immigrated from Calabria, Italy) whose patriarch and matriarch couple (Giuseppe and Pina) and their 4 grown and married or supposed to be married children (Gina, Carmela, Bruno and Joseph), deal with often hilarious family growing pains all under the roof of a family home deep in the northern Ontario town of Way Up Bay. Hilarity ensues when a neighbor the patriarch has been flirting with on and off, calls to alert everyone that a moose is on the loose in their neighborhood (her yard). The patriarch's desire to impress his possible future mistress leads to an interaction with the moose that invites local law enforcement and sets off a series of events that reveal a beautiful family trying to deal with the social dynamics of cultural displacement. More than once this play was able to touch its audience with the observance and authentic rendering of what it is to be a fish out of water in a strange environment - Italian Canadian style.
The ensemble of actors is electric. Standouts include: A very funny and remarkably grounded James Lemire as the Moose/Officer, a masterful Stewart W. Howard and a sharp and on point Erica Piccininni as Gina. Special mention to Darby Winn's focused and buoyant Timothy. Stage Design (Jeff G. Rack) is simple but detailed. Costumes by Mylette Nora. Set in the 1970's, with rotary phones and wood panel kitchens, we feel fully transported back in time. Lights and sound were seamless.
Play runs at the venerable Theatre West through May 21; performances Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. Ample safe, street parking.