The Pitmen Painters
by Lee Hall
"Real art belongs to everyone."
A theater production depends on many different aspects of the performance. The quality of the play, the actors, the staging, the direction, and the intangible essence that brings everything together -- all of these contributed to the brilliance of the production that I was fortunate to see as TimeLine Theatre Company opened its latest production this past weekend. The playwright, Lee Hall, has brought the skills that he demonstrated so well with Billy Elliot to his play, The Pitmen Painters. Using those skills he has created literate and entertaining drama that explores the meaning of art and its ability to change lives.
I found the direction and acting of the production were up to the high standards I have come to expect from TimeLine. Standouts in the excellent ensemble were Dan Waller who, as Oliver Kilbourn, demonstrated the breadth of emotion and power that embodies becoming an artist while Andrew Carter was perfect as the Art Professor, Robert Lyon. This play is about hard working men, coal miners, who in a straightforward way want to learn about more than the depths of the pits, extending their education and in the process find they have talent of which they were not aware. The loyalty of these men for each other and for their work also impressed me as they stood together in the new (to them) world of art. The production was helped by the intimacy of TimeLine's Wellington Avenue venue as you felt like you had become part of the miners' world. The humor and camaraderie of the pitmen demonstrated another reason to believe in the aspirations of this hardy band of fellows. The resulting evening of theater is another example of the exceptional entertainment that has become the hallmark of TimeLine Theatre Company.