Shannon Boklaschuk | THE STAR PHOENIX | ★★★★★

Review: Jake's Gift

By Shannon Boklaschuk,

Published: Monday, August 04, 2008

Jake's Gift

Juno Productions

Victoria School Gym

5 stars out of 5

If I could give this play six stars, I would.

Jake's Gift is one of the most heart-wrenching, emotional and beautifully acted pieces of theatre I've ever seen. I left the Victoria School Gym on Monday with a red nose from crying, a stronger sense of patriotism and a feeling of absolute admiration for Julia Mackey's enormous talent.

Mackey wrote and stars in Jake's Gift, the story of a Second World War veteran who returns - for the first time - to Juno Beach for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. While there, he befriends a wise-beyond-her-years 10-year-old girl, who helps him come to terms with his difficult past.

At times, it's easy to forget Jake's Gift is a one-woman show. Mackey's delivery is flawless, and she expertly moves from playing a cantankerous Canadian veteran to a young French girl to the child's grandmother. Mackey doesn't just play her characters, she becomes them; she has the walk of an elderly man and the energy of a precocious youngster.

There’s been a ton of buzz surrounding the show, and if any Fringe play deserves positive word of mouth, it's Jake's Gift. On Monday, a large lineup of excited people could be seen outside Victoria School, and the crowd nearly filled all of the seats in the gym - very impressive for a morning show on a stat holiday.

I was deeply moved by this play, and I know I'm not the only one: There was hardly a dry eye in the audience. The standing ovation Mackey received at the end of her wonderful performance was most deserved.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008