Review: Tweed: A New Canadian Musical (Iana Theatre Company)

Tweed: A New Canadian Musical is a show about the formation of a small town in Ontario, Tweed, and the lives of the people who live there. The main characters, Sarah – played by Amanda Struthman – and David – played by Nathan Carroll – fall in love, but are torn apart by the escalating war in Germany. Tweed: A New Canadian Musical is playing at The Papermill Theatre until August 27.

The play is performed admirably. Everyone involved has clearly put a lot of work into the production, and everyone on stage is a capable singer, actor, and occasional dancer. There wasn’t a bad performance in the entire production, which is telling of their skill given the material.

Tweed itself is simply too generic for me. Going in to a show about the war experience in Tweed, I presumed that something unique happened there during that time. It apparently did not. This story is very much like every war story I have seen before, and there are a lot of war stories out there – many of which I find more interesting than this one.

I brought my boyfriend Matt along to see the show, and during intermission he asked me if I had noticed any major conflict yet. Aside from the ongoing arguments between Sarah and her parents, I hadn’t. There is no major issue that keeps the story going: any issue that does come up is presented quickly and almost immediately dismissed or solved, usually being resolved within the span of a song. Yes, there is the war, but that is not enough to keep the story going. There are many interesting stories to come out of World War II, but Tweed only touches on being shot and the women being sad about their husbands being away – stories that happened everywhere, not just Tweed.

My other issue with the play is that I find the characters so one-dimensional that they are difficult for me to invest in. No character seems deeply developed or has any interesting or special quirks. They are archetypes; the big city girl, her father, the boy next door, etc., and nothing else. The songs are decent enough, but not much to speak of – good, but again, generic.

This is a well-performed, feel-good show where nothing terribly traumatic happens, and, I would advise seeing this show if that interests you. However, if you are like me and looking for something with more depth, Tweed might not be to your taste.

Please note that the road the theatre is on is actually closed for the duration of the show. It is still accessible by foot via Broadview Ave., but the terrain is gravel and quite steep – and probably too long a trek for elderly guests. Local traffic is still allowed, but it is advised that you take Bayview Ave. to Pottery Road instead.

Tweed: A New Canadian Musical is playing at The Papermill Theatre, 67 Pottery Rd.
– Thursday, August 18 – 8pm, Friday, August 19 – 8pm, Saturday, August 20 – 2pm & 8pm, Sunday, August – 21 8pm, Thursday, August – 25 8pm, Friday, August 26 – 8pm, Saturday, August 27 – 2pm & 8pm
– Tickets are available in person at The Arts Box Office at the Theatre Passe Muraille or by calling 416-504-7529. Alternatively, they are available at T.O TIX  or by calling 416-536-6468 x40
– Tickets are $25.10 for students and seniors and $28.25 for adults.

Photo credit: Amanda Struthman and Nathan Carroll by Gabriella Rivera.