Boisterous Bible Bill

By Tammy Baille

The Aberhart Summer is an entertaining look at the political, economic
and social discontent during the 1930’s in Alberta. Set in a rural Alberta
town during the summer of 1935, The Aberhart Summer focuses on Doug Sayers
(Kevin Kruchkywick), an "almost- 16-year-old" boy who acts as
primary character and narrator. Amusing in its naiveté, the play
gives a youthful perspective on the depression and the rise to power of
William Aberhart’s Social Credit party while also painting a very truthful
and honest picture of the desperation of the time.

The plot centres around Babe Roothe (Edward Belanger). Babe, Doug’s best
friend, is found hanging from a noose in the old barn early in the play. After
a public inquiry decides the crime is suicide, Doug questions the decision and sets out
to find "the

truth." Kruchkywich and Belanger do fine jobs of endearing their
characters to the audience. However, the highlights of this production are
certainly the performances by Philip Warren Sarsons and William Webster.
Sarsons plays the delightfully innocent Norman Fetterman-a close buddy of
Babe, Doug and "mama’s boy." A good portion of the laughs in this
play can be attributed to Sarsons’ use of physical humour. Additionally,
Webster’s bellowing voice and boisterous gestures closely capture the bold,
charismatic Aberhart.

Overall, The Aberhart Summer is good for a few laughs but nothing to
write home about. If you’re interested in history or politics you’ll likely
enjoy this play more than those simply looking to be entertained. The play
certainly isn’t a "whodunnit." In fact, by the second half I really
didn’t care how or why Babe died. A major redeeming quality of the show
is the opportunity to understand how intimately politics and religion were
once linked and abused. Throughout the play, I felt as though I was watching
my grandfather as a young boy in his bland brown pants and suspenders. I
feel I better understand his positions on politics and religion after seeing
this play. In that sense, if you can somehow identify with the setting and
the characters, you’re apt to get something from the show.

Leave a comment