News / Halifax

'Hilarity meets heartbreak:' Jonas & Barry in the Home opening at Neptune Theatre

The Halifax theatre's first show of the year is described as offering a universal message.

Jonas (Norm Foster) explains something to Barry (David Nairn) during a rehearsal on Tuesday for 'Jonas & Barry in the Home.' The latest Neptune show runs until Feb. 11.

Yvette d'Entremont/Metro Halifax

Jonas (Norm Foster) explains something to Barry (David Nairn) during a rehearsal on Tuesday for 'Jonas & Barry in the Home.' The latest Neptune show runs until Feb. 11.

Neptune Theatre’s latest show focuses on two men living in a retirement residence, but the director says its appeal is universal.

“We’ve had audience members from 13 years old up to 90 sitting side by side, both laughing their heads off and both walking away from the theatre asking important questions,” Derek Ritschel said.

“Questions about how do I want to live my life? What is important? What is the pursuit of happiness for me? And that is magical.”

Jonas & Barry in the Home was penned by prolific Canadian playwright and Order of Canada recipient Norm Foster. He also stars as Jonas, one of the play’s key characters.

“Norm’s funny. But if you really start to study some of his shows, like The Melville Boys, or Mending Fences, or here in Jonas & Barry, you really start to discover that it’s very funny and people are laughing, but there’s really something deeper,” Ritschel said.

Foster was inspired to write Jonas & Barry three years ago when his friend David Nairn –who plays Barry- asked him to write something the pair could perform at seniors’ homes in Florida when they got older.

“I would challenge anyone to come see it and not walk away without laughing their head off for two hours,” Ritschel said.

“It sounds absolutely cliché for me to say everyone can see the show. But in earnest it’s true. It’s funny for everyone, and there is something to take away for everyone.”

The show is Neptune’s first of the new year, and is being touted as "hilarity meets heartbreak."

The first performance is a "pay what you can" on Tuesday night, with previews continuing on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

The play's official opening night is Friday. Jonas & Barry runs until Feb. 11.

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