REVIEW: In The Wake of Wettlaufer is an important piece of Canadian theatre

[In the Wake of Wettlaufer], written by Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt, who also directed, is a powerful artistic achievement but, more importantly, it puts a human face and sharp focus on a horrific tragedy that has exposed the weaknesses in a long-term care system in desperate need of repair, writes London Free Press entertainment reporter Joe Belanger, who attended the preview on Aug. 7.

That this play incorporates the findings of Justice Eileen E. Gillese inquiry is remarkable. But its real achievement is it captures the human toll of Wettlaufer’s actions: killing eight elderly long-term care home residents, shattering families’ and the public’s confidence in the system.

The five actors are outstanding and Garratt has allowed them to breathe. Instead of cramming facts and detail into the work, Garratt gives the actors and the audience time to digest what has happened with quiet, contemplative moments.

What we see on stage is a family with issues: sibling rivalry, jealousy, flaws, doubts, guilt, regrets and anger that we all experience in life, especially when coping with a deteriorating parent.

When Wettlaufer’s evil is exposed, the family examines what happened to their father, how they dealt with him and each other and how to rediscover the true meaning of family.

Please visit The Free Press website to read the full review.

Photo: Blyth Festival’s In the Wake of Wettlaufer, co-written by Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt, runs until Sept. 6. Frank (played by Robert King) and his daughter Lynn (played by Rachael Jones). Creative team is: Gil Garratt, director and set designer; Rebecca Picherack, lighting designer; Lyon Smith, sound designer; and Gemma James-Smith, costume designer. Stage management by Christine Oakey and Daniel Oulton. Photo credit: Terry Manzo.