By Nicole Kobie
"The courage to follow your dreams."
Theatre Calgary’s latest production, Holiday, is a romantic comedy about manners, dreams, courage, people, and society. While these themes are important, they are not what bring this work of art to life; it is the characterization, dialogue and acting. The characters’ caustic bitterness, heartbreaking sorrow and gut-splitting wit combine to make Holiday truly memorable.
Holiday is the story of Johnny Case, a self-made success. He is engaged to Julia, the daughter of the wealthy and stubborn Edward Seton. Upon meeting Julia’s family, Case finds his own dreams are in danger. Julia and her father do not understand nor approve of his plans to leave the business world behind to take an extended "holiday" in order to find himself.
However, Julia’s siblings, Linda and Ned, offer ample reason, through support and drunken example, for Case to go his own way. Ned’s alcoholism shows Case a possible fate while Linda understands Case like no one else. Her encouragement and affection leads Case to make a decision about the direction of his life. He loves Julia, but can he stay with her, even if it means giving up everything he’s ever wanted?
This story may seem old, as though it’s been done before–it has. Holiday premiered in 1928, was produced as a movie starring Carey Grant and Katherine Hepburn 10 years later and has been performed numerous times since.
The Theatre Calgary version, however, is not tired. Spectacular acting keeps it fresh. Kevin Bundy is perfectly charming as Case, Caroline Cave is perfectly frustrating as Julia Seton and Kate Newby is simply splendid in her role as Linda.
Comic lines are delivered subtly, often creating an uproar of laughter in the audience. The comedy takes stabs at the worlds of business and high society, and the people who inhabit them.
The other ideas, of finding one’s identity and living ones dreams, are looked at more seriously. Case does not understand money as the ultimate goal and work as the ultimate lifestyle, but Edward Seton does not understand Case’s need to enjoy life now, and work later.
In Holiday, Theatre Calgary does justice to an excellent play.
Performances of Holiday run Tues. to Sun. until April 8 at 3 and 8 p.m. daily. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster, and rush seating is $12.50.