Andy Jones bursts with life in An Evening With Uncle Val.
AN EVENING WITH UNCLE VAL (Theatre Passe Muraille). To October 19. 416-504-7529. See Continuing. Rating: NNN
Andy Jones is an engaging storyteller, either as his letter-writing creation Uncle Val or in his own person.
Both are on display in An Evening With Uncle Val, featuring that septuagenarian title figure, a Newfoundland outharbour man now living in St. John's with his daughter and her family. Letters to his friend Jack back home become gentle satires on suburban city life and the off-kilter but recognizable figures around him.
Touching on topics that include cable TV, the royal family, Newfoundland culture, tea and cod, Jones recites local poetry, morphs into a wolf and impersonates Joey Smallwood. The show, sharper in its second half than its first, looks at what it means both to be human and to be a Newfoundlander, two ideas closely connected for Jones.
He relies on telling tales to make his dramatic and emotional points, whether playing a character or directly addressing viewers as himself. He's frequently deft and charming.
Still, there's nothing more individual than the response to comic material, and not everyone will respond to Jones's humour. While I was only occasionally amused, most of the packed audience couldn't have been happier.