Saltzman phenomenal in Theatre Orangeville’s Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun

After seeing Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun, it’s easy to see why Theatre Orangeville brass brought the production back to the Opera House after a successful run in 2001.

Actually, it’s a shame audiences had to wait so long to once again get lost in the magical, heart-warming tale from Canada’s preeminent playwright, Norm Foster.

Susie Burnett, who last ap­peared locally in Theatre Or­angeville’s I’ll Be Back Before Midnight, again impresses with her ability to totally immerse herself in each role she takes on.

She is superb as Holly, the young, educated, “single-ish” female lead forced into menial employment due to a lack of teaching jobs in the area.

To make matters worse, Holly soon find herself pregnant and alone.

Worried sick about finances and help with the baby, she runs into Robert (Avery Saltzman), a mentally challenged, middle-aged man who takes great pride in the type of work she resents.

At first it seems the two have nothing in common, but Robert’s quick wit and unique sense of humour win Holly over, despite her pleas to be left alone.

It’s not long before Holly visits Robert and his mother and caregiver Claire (Lally Cadeau) for dinner and grudgingly accepts a seemingly generous offer to move in so she can save money.

What develops is a life-altering friendship, with all three filling a profound void in their  respective lives. In true Foster fashion, the arrangement takes the audience on an incredible emotional journey, including  moments of heartfelt hilarity, anger and sadness.

But the arrangement is threatened when the baby’s father (David Rosser) returns for a visit and offers Holly everything she needs: a father for the baby, financial support and even a job – the only catch being it’s all on the east coast, far from the makeshift home and family she’s come to love.

The decision is a difficult one that threatens to destroy the bond between Holly and  Robert for good.

And while the outcome won’t be ruined here, the drama that unfolds is sure to touch audience members and leave more than a few misty-eyed.

Cadeau and Rosser are excellent in their respective supporting roles and have great chemistry with Burnett and Saltzman. And Elizabeth Glenday, as Dr. Andrews, also turns in a fine performance.

But the best reason to see Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun is the phenomenal performance by Saltzman, the true star of the show.

To say he is convincing as Robert would be a monumental understatement. Throughout the entire production, and often without words, he infuses the role with a genuine vulnerability that will leave audiences astounded. Saltzman’s performance truly must be seen to be believed.

Director David Nairn, who expertly guides the cast through every smile and tear, calls Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun his favourite Foster play.

“It is an exhilarating theatrical experience that never fails to refresh my spirit, touch my very soul and tickle my funny bone in a most profound way,” Nairn says.

No argument here. And it’s hard to refute a fellow audience member who called Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun the best production he has ever seen at Theatre Orangeville.

What a way to end a flawless 2008-09 season. 

Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun plays six shows a week until May 3. For tickets call 519-942-3423 or 1-800-424-1295, visit theatre­ or email