This week, Kordazone Theatre has been transformed into a hockey arena, complete with boards, stands and feverish hockey moms and dads. For an October in Windsor, nothing could be more Canadian. You’d swear you just walked onto the ice in the old Riverside community rink.
Korda Artistic Productions opened this past weekend with a passionate version of the 1999 comedy-romance Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad directed by Gabe Franklin. It’s a two-person show about lonely single parents who meet and fall in love while watching their kids play a season of minor hockey. In their section of the bleachers in an old rink, they find the best and worst in themselves reflected by the game.
When I grew up, hockey was a bit of an obsession. I traded hockey cards and watched Hockey Night In Canada on CBC. Back in those days, the TV games only got better when the Leafs played and it was only better than that when the Leafs played the Canadians – there was no such shlock as Anaheim, Florida or Las Vegas at that time.
Hockey was so much a part of my life at that point that we named my brother after Leafs superstar Darryl Sittler. I tried to play the game, but for the life of me was never able to stop on skates, so I always ended up face first into the boards and gave up before my nose became a mess. With that I never had the chance to experience the hockey mom or dad like other hockey kids, so Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad gave me a little insight into what might go on in the mind of a hockey parent.
However, Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad is as much about the game of love as it is about the actual sport of hockey. There are enough subtle references to the game to please hockey fans, but it’s the allure of actors Clinton Hammond (Teddy) and Jenny Hunter (Donna) and their ongoing flirts and jabs that make the show entertaining.
Hammond is a Stanley Cup champ in this show. Unleashed in the role of Teddy, he shoots and scores his way through various jokes, nuances and endless flirts. He’s obnoxious and ridiculously excited, but he’s also lovable and cuddly. That might be what Donna saw in him – Hunter was fabulous as the timid and reserved hockey mom and made a few goalie saves so the play didn’t become too mushy. The duo played well off each other and provided a solid two hours of entertainment.
The set was well designed by Martin Ouellette and looked like an authentic rink, giving the actors a playground full of bleachers, hockey boards and even an area of the stage that served as an ice surface. Had this been in a more intimate setting, the show might not have worked as well. The stage gave the show room to breathe and really put the audience in the stands. The only improvement to the stage area could have been some banners hanging from the rafters.
While Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad might not have been a Stanley Cup final game, it was certainly playoff worthy and one of the sure bets in a busy theatre season. The show continues tonight through Saturday with evening performances on Oct. 18, 29 and 20. For more visit www.kordazone.com.