REVIEW: Beattie great in Eds Garage

Ed’s Garage doesn’t just fix cars, it also fixes people.

That is one of the more memorable lines from the last production in Theatre Orange­ville’s 2009-10 season, but it can also be applied to those filling the seats at the Opera House on?Broadway.

Ed’s Garage is the perfect remedy for whatever ails audiences.  

Upset about the economy? Garage owner Ed will relay how someone else is always worse off. Love life in the dumps? Ed’s charisma will prove there are no insurmountable obstacles when it comes to love.

Feeling overly negative? Not to worry; as Ed explains, being negative can be a real asset and is one of man’s best coping mechanisms. Struggling to understand what went wrong with the world? Listen to Ed. He believes whole heartedly – and you will too – everything wrong with society can be trac­ed to the invention of the large round hay bale.

The namesake business in Ed’s Garage is a great place to get an oil change or have a boat engine fixed, but it’s also Port Petunia’s oldest unlicensed so­cial institution, providing confidential and sage advice to anyone who needs it.

When Cassandra, an actual psychotherapist from the city, sets up a private practice next door to the garage, Ed capitalizes – at first by mistake and later by plan – on the chance to expand his skill set. And that’s when things get interesting.

Rod Beattie is fabulous as Ed, delivering countless punch lines in the remarkably smooth and seemingly effortless manor audiences have come to expect from the theatre veteran best known for his role in the Wing­field series, also written by Ed’s Garage playwright Dan Needles.

Tim Campbell has audience members, particularly those familiar with the myriad levels of red tape associated with local government, sympathizing with Peter from the beginning. And he pulls off almost every scene with great conviction, whether he’s portraying frustration or adoration.

Jane Spence is a delight, playing well off the three male cast members with relative ease and grace. She also provides some big laughs, though it is her portrayal of a conflicted professional and Peter’s potential love interest that truly reflects her talent.

Murray Furrow provides great comedic relief as Nick, a reformed enemy of Ed’s who’s now the garage owner’s right hand man. Furrow’s timing is impeccable, and while he de­livers some of the show’s funniest lines, he does so without making a spectacle of himself or diminishing the performances of the other players.

The cast obviously received great direction from Douglas Beattie, who, after directing 10 Needles plays, seems to know the mind of the writer inside and out.

Needles’ script is hilarious and heartwarming, yet not overly corny or mushy. There’s a lesson or two to be learned here, but the audience isn’t hit over the head with the obvious.

The set design and lighting design, by Vaughn Davis and Steve Lucas respectively, are perfect compliments to the story.

Audiences may at first feel the story is a bit slow to develop, but nearly every line is in­cluded for a reason, whether it be character development or just to set up jokes later in the production.

This truly is a wonderful play that helps to remind us all that no matter what we do or where we are, there’s a little bit of Heaven right in front of us – we just need to open our eyes and realize it.

Ed’s Garage plays six shows a week until May 23. For tickets call 519-942-3423 or 1-800-424-1295 or visit