‘Drawer Boy’: Strong performances make play on friendship compelling

Review: Hubbard Hall’s production of Michael Healey’s “The Drawer Boy” digs into the depths of frien

Friendship is a powerful force. A true friend is someone you can share anything with. And what wouldn’t we do for a true friend? What lengths wouldn’t we go to? What wouldn’t we give up for them? After all, isn’t their happiness our own happiness? Aren’t their triumphs ours, their failures ours as well?

’The Drawer Boy’

WHERE: Hubbard Hall, 25 East Main St., Cambridge

WHEN: Through Jan. 20


MORE INFO: 677-2495, www.hubbardhall.org

Hubbard Hall’s production of Michael Healey’s “The Drawer Boy” digs into the depths of friendship; how our lives become so knit into each other’s, we don’t know where they end and we begin — and how while sometimes friendship may be a weight we carry gladly, sometimes it may be a burden we bear because love demands we bear it.

Set in the 1970s, Morgan (Benjie White) and Angus (Philip Kerr), lifelong friends, live on a run-down farm in Canada. Miles (Jason Dolmetsch), an actor from Toronto, arrives to do research for his theater group on how life on the farm really works. Soon, Miles discovers that the real story is not the animals or the crops, but the relationship between the two men. Angus has a brain injury sustained while the two men were fighting in World War II together, and Morgan has been taking care of him ever since. Miles’ presence helps to bring some of Angus’ memories back, with some results that no one expects.

The three actors worked well together. In a cast this size, a flawed performance would have stood out, and luckily, all three men were strong in their roles.

White’s Morgan was solid, with glimpses of humor beneath; he truly shone in his scenes with Angus, where you could see the connection and the friendship between the two.

Dolmetsch’s Miles was a good combination of big-city actor and clueless college boy; when he allowed himself to let his emotions go, such as later in the play in a confrontational scene with White, he was at his best. (His scene explaining one of his theater roles to a very impressed Angus was the funniest scene in the show, as well.) Dolmetsch also directed the piece; kudos to him for doing double-duty so well. It takes a talented actor to direct oneself this well.

Kerr’s Angus was the standout, if there is such a thing in such a small cast. He managed to combine the guilelessness of a child and the anger of a man stuck with a mind that isn’t quite able to do what he wants it to seamlessly. Of all the characters, you truly felt the most emotion for him. You wanted him to remember, you wanted him to see what was right in front of him, and yet you wanted to protect him from the truth of what was going on.

White also designed the set, which was unobtrusive and perfect for the setting; it faded into the background, as comfortable as an old farmhouse, lived in for many years, should.

“The Drawer Boy” is a powerful piece that Hubbard Hall has done well, one of those plays that you can happily discuss on the drive home and won’t easily forget.

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