A beautiful performance, relaying a story that is simultaneously beautiful and horrible
Company: Looking Glass Productions
Genre: Play — Drama
Venue: 9 — Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall (U of W)
(Reviewed at the 2011 Ottawa Fringe Festival)
When it was first performed in 2010, CBC's reviewer called Marc Moir's Padre X "a pure triumph." And I'm inclined to agree.
As writer and performer, Moir brings to light the largely-unknown story of John Weir Foote — the only Canadian army chaplain to receive the Victoria Cross. After volunteering to join the men he ministered to on the disastrous Dieppe raid, Foote allowed himself to be taken prisoner, in order to stay with his fellow soldiers.
This is the kind of "war is hell, but God bless the brave fightin' boys" story that could easily veer into sentimental melodrama. But Moir's performance makes Foote's story real. Sounding more than a little like Stuart McLean, Moir is genuine, unhurried, and utterly committed as Foote.
It's a beautiful performance, relaying a story that is simultaneously beautiful and horrible. If you saw it previously, you can decide whether you need to see it again (I was happy to, personally). But if you missed it, don't make the same mistake this time out.