Father Tim of Mitford visits Hepburn

Welcome to Mitford
Robert Inman, based on the best-selling Mitford novels by Jan Karon
Performed by Bethany College
Nov. 4–6, 2010

The very popular Father Tim Kavanagh transitioned from print to stage in the Canadian premiere of Welcome to Mitford at Bethany College, Hepburn, Sask., Nov. 4–6.

Lead character Father Tim has always enjoyed shepherding his spiritual flock in the small town of Mitford, but as the rector approaches 60, his world shifts dramatically and he must grow in his own faith as he deals with a series of unexpected transitions in his life.

In the midst of the many changes, Father Tim is challenged to give thanks in all things and trust that God will lead him.

The biggest strength of this play was how well-developed Father Tim’s character was. It was easy to relate with him (played by Nick Poetker) as he struggled with relationships, illness, and direction in his life.

Actors and crew did a fantastic job of portraying several settings on one stage. Clever use of lighting made it easy for the audience to know where each scene was taking place.

However, the play was too long – a common problem when adapting a book (or in this case, books) to stage. Inman no doubt wanted to hit all the main events of the series to the satisfaction of fans. I felt that some scenes could have been shortened or deleted without compromising the storyline.

Despite this, the play was very well-received as fans enjoyed seeing the town of Mitford brought to life. Characters came off the stage and interacted with the audience while serving dessert at the intermission.

Leanne Heinrichs lives outside Saskatoon with her husband Galen and children Sam and Reagan. Their family attends Forest Grove Community Church, Saskatoon.

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