Mental Illness Brought to Light
As someone who reviewed the arts in Kelowna for more than 25 years, I have had the privilege of getting to see a lot of theatre productions -- spanning from local amateur talent to professional equity casts -- but nothing, absolutely nothing moved me more than Kelowna Actors Studio's production of Next to Normal.
A lot of it had to do with the amazing script and score that tackles the effects of mental illness on families -- but not even the best script or songs in the world can survive if the talent isn't there to deliver it. But that was never an issue in this show. In fact, there were those in the audience who had been to this musical on Broadway and claimed Laura Lebbon in the role of the mother was actually better than what they'd seen in New York.
Anyone who has ever had experience with bipolar either themselves or with a family member will find themselves swallowed into this storyline within the first few minutes and crying like a baby by intermission. Pack Kleenex!
I cannot thank Kelowna Actors Studio enough for bringing this show to life here in Kelowna. Because there is still such a stigma around mental health. It's something people just don't understand or know how to deal with. And maybe, just maybe, this show will help to bring it into the light.
Huge HUGE kudos to the incredible cast of this production.