Late singer/songwriter Stan Rogers reached out to listeners with tales about people who didn't admit defeat. Created by Diane Stapley and Vince Metcalfe, Stan Rogers -- A Matter Of Heart is less a theatre piece than a staged concert of some 30 songs, which are given a frame and some lively musical moments.
But director Jim Betts emphasizes in the program notes that each of Rogers' folk-flavoured melodies -- many have a down-east fiddle twang and deal with Maritime concerns and legends -- is a drama in miniature. It's a point that Betts doesn't follow through in production, as one item follows another with little change in mood or emotional tempo. The men in his cast of four, backed by musical director Bob Ashley and a sympathetic band, sing well enough but fall flat when they try to give drama to the songs.
But then, to help save the evening, there's Charlotte Moore, whose energy, spirit and voice go to the centre of each piece she performs. Too bad so much of that material is similar, for the show could do with more genuinely comic touches.
The small but enthusiastic audience on the night I attended obviously loves Rogers' music. It's a diehard group of fans who will most appreciate this revue, which has the strength of good intentions, but a weak theatricality. JK
STAN ROGERS -- A MATTER OF HEART, music and lyrics by Rogers, conceived and created by Diane Stapley and Vince Metcalfe, directed by Jim Betts, with Frank MacKay, Dan Mackay, Terry Hatty and Charlotte Moore. Presented by Lock-Keeper Productions at the Jane Mallett Theatre (27 Front East). Runs to August 5, Monday-Saturday 8 pm, Saturday matinee 2 pm. $20-$49, Monday pwyc. 366-7723, 872-2222. Rating: NN