Heavy themes handled with light touch
By Jo Ledingham
It's refreshing to see two First Nations characters off reserve and/or out of the Downtown Eastside dramatized. These are regular working guys: Jake is a journalist (but a bad alcoholic) and his cousin Ike is a photographer who has been away for 15 years on assignment in war-ravaged Africa. Ike returns to Canada, checks up on Jake only to find him in a drunken, puking stupor--which explains the toilet on stage. (A toilet on stage is, like a gun, one of those uh-oh items.)
After good-naturedly trading insults and, briefly, talking about their unhappy childhoods (Ike's history in residential school, Jake's on reserve with an abusive father), they end up on a road trip in Jake's duct-taped, red Ford Escort on their way to Muskoka, hot on the trail of the mysteriously missing Minister of Justice.
Your traditionally savvy First Nations men these are not. Once in the bush, spooked by the howls of wolves, ignorant about lighting a fire and hungry for lack of forethought, this is one odd couple of not-so-braves.
Below: "Craig Lauzon and Lorne Cardinal switch roles every night in the First Nations buddy comedy Thunderstick at the Firehall Arts Centre."