Chemainus Theatre’s ‘Hilda’s Yard’ a hilarious and touching comedy

You will laugh out loud, repeatedly, at the goings-on in Hilda’s Yard.

You will laugh out loud, repeatedly, at the goings-on in Hilda’s Yard.

The Norm Foster comedy, on until Nov. 5 at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, is a hilarious romp that combines timeless family dynamics that will both touch your heart and have you chuckling helplessly, with a specific sense of place and time, inhabited by colourful, unforgettable characters.

Though this play is set unmistakably in the 1950s — indeed, a key part of the plot is the Fluck family parents Hilda and Sam purchasing their first television set — it is in no way dated.

Through the considerable talent of an excellent cast, the characters are specific, but also loveably familiar.

Giovanni Mocibob is perfect as the shiftless, dreamer son Gary who is in his 30s and still living off his parents. He unconvincingly blames his extended adolescence on having served overseas in the Second World War — safely far behind enemy lines, working supplies, his mother is quick to clarify. His one attempt at a job in pizza delivery led to his current affair with customer Bobbi (Emma Slipp), a thoroughly modern girl who plays trombone and stands on her own financial feet. Slipp is wonderful as the girl who just takes everything as it comes with good humour, and find Gary loveable despite seeing him quite clearly.

Ella Simpson is hilarious as Janey, the not-too-bright, recently married daughter who arrives unexpectedly on her parents’ doorstep, announcing the end of said marriage and her newly discovered professional ambitions. She is both a ridiculous and serious figure whose situation reveals a great deal about everyone — but I don’t want to give too much away, here.

Father Sam (Brian Linds) is a man of his generation, someone who did exactly what he was supposed to do in life, and finds now some of the cracks inherent in filling those expectations so unthinkingly to the letter. The conundrum he faces about the job he’s given his days to for 26 years will be painfully familiar to everyone. Loyalty and corporate America is definitely not a theme that’s gone away in the intervening decades between when this play is set and today.

But the glue in the family is Hilda, brought to life with a magnificent performance by Karen Johnson-Diamond.

In no way blind to the foibles of her offspring, Hilda is nevertheless nothing less than devoted to her family and their happiness.

She is the iron core of the Fluck clan, both the warmth of a comfy seat by the fire — or washing hung out on the line in the backyard — and the no-nonsense kick-in-the pants her children need.

Johnson-Diamond is really special in this juicy role — funny, sincere and all-around wonderful. Her performance alone is worth a trip to see this show.

Rounding out the cast is Brad Austin as bookie Beverly Woytowich. In Foster’s brilliance, even he is something more than he appears and Austin finds both the tough guy and the surprising intellectual.

You know a play is good when the lights come up and you can’t believe you’ve been sitting there for several hours, and that’s what happens with Hilda’s Yard. It’s like being wrapped up in a big hug.

Get your tickets at 1-800-565-7738 or

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read