Sherri Wade plays Gloria, a transplant from New York City, and Vicky Barta plays 90-year-old Grace, a Virginia native nearing death - submitted photo

REVIEW: ‘Grace and Glorie’ a moving tale of death and friendship

Two women convey characters convincingly and with humour

In stories where two opposites fall into the same world, there’s often a thread that manages to tie them together. Something, somehow, connects them.

Although not suprising, it’s more satisfying than two likely characters falling in love or a couple of people that make sense getting through hardship together.

This dynamic is displayed across the decades and when it makes its stop in Grace and Glorie, it hits home in a special kind of way.

The latest ECHO Players production, written by Tom Ziegler and directed by Kelly Barnum, the story of an elderly rural woman nearing death and a young woman, fresh from New York City, who comes to take care of her, confronts themes of mortality and friendship in a refreshing and straight forward way.

Vicky Barta is able to capture her multi-faceted character, 90-year-old Grace, with a sense of ease. She’s an old, sick woman who describes herself as a “redneck.”

Coming off as ingenuine or hokey while speaking in a Virginian accent could have been easily fatal to the play, but Barta managed to embody her character earnestly and with candor. It’s the highlight of Grace and Glorie — a performance so convincing, you forget you’re 5,000 kilometres away from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The eye is drawn to Barta throughout the play who doesn’t stop moving, breathing or speaking as Grace for a moment.

The mountains of Virginia were realized spot on in a set that seemed to capture a moment in between life and death.

Half-finished quilts lined the side of the stage, embroidery sat beside the old wooden dining set. You get the feeling that Grace’s life stopped mid-stitch when she got sick.

Gloria, the toney Harvard MBA graduate, ably played by Sherri Wade, is a harder character to swallow. Initially coming off as cold, she softens as the play goes on. Little by little, the audience is able to see an in-depth character, and the more we get to know Gloria, the better the play becomes.

Perhaps less comedy than the audience expected, the play confronts death head on, instead of dancing around it.

Grace teaches lessons about morality in a subtle and beautiful way, without trying to or sounding trite. At the play’s end, you’re left with a feeling that Grace’s lessons will stay with Gloria, and perhaps leave her changed forever.

Punchy lines delivered throughout the play, usually of the sarcastic, self-deprecating variety, received laughs from the crowd.

No doubt a demanding feat for a cast of just two people, the two-hour play relies soley on Wade and Barta to hold the other up.

The connection from the two is apparent.

Just like their charcters, these women have been through something together, and it translates to the stage.

Ultimately, the play was well-received by the loyal and attentive audience that any ECHO play attracts.

The show will continue to run until Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Village Theatre at 110 West 2nd Ave, Qualicum Beach.

Tickets are $23 regular admission, $20 for seniors and $14 for seniors and can be purchased online at

Just Posted

Handmade for Hope proposal at Orca Place denied by council

Motion carried to allow use of the former temporary shelter space as exercise room instead

Ballenas Whalers advance to junior varsity Subway Bowl title game

Parksville squad will play for provincial high school football crown

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs drop a close game in Parksville

Spruce Kings come back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3

Language showcase at Qualicum Beach Museum

2019 is the year of Indigenous languages

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read