Skip to content

‘Hockey Dreams’ at STC: Sweet story will leave audiences smitten

Great sets and strong performances bring a classic Canadian tale to life
Narrator and the man who adapted the novel for the stage, Caleb Marshall assumes the role of referee in a scene featuring young actors Lucas Gabriel Mullaly, who plays a member of the Griffin family (left) and Colton Gobbo, who plays Darren, the brother of Stafford Foley, the catalyst for the play’s action. (Arron Pickard)

The American Dream is becoming rich and successful. The Canadian Dream, at least for males under the age of 20, is playing hockey in the National Hockey League.

That dream is the subject of Hockey Dreams, which opened last Friday at the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC) and runs until May 7.

It is a sweet story set in a small New Brunswick town during the winter of 1960-61. The neighbourhood kids, like those across the country, are crazy about hockey. They never miss Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights and they love pond hockey even though their talents are questionable or non existent.

The play is based on the book, Hockey Dreams of a Man Who Couldn't Play, by David Adams Richards. He adapted it for stage with his nephew, Caleb Marshall, the theatre centre’s artistic director. It was originally produced at Theatre New Brunswick in 2011 under Marshall's direction.

In the STC's version, co-produced by Sudbury's YES Theatre, Marshall plays the story's narrator David, a boy who can' t play hockey because of a disability. He is directed by YES's artistic director Alessandro Costantini, who does double duty as Michael, a serious teenager who can play hockey but can't afford a pair of skates. The versatile Sudbury actor played the role in the original 2011 production in Fredricton.

The rest of the cast are young community actors who are making their STC debut. They are challenged by the play's wordiness and length. They pull off an entertaining A for effort thanks to the tutelage of Marshall and Constantini.

The real star of the evening is the set by Patrick Clark which includes an artificial ice surface and the excellent hockey choreography.

This reviewer found Hockey Dreams a little too long, and children and teens might get a little fidgety in the first act. But this will be forgiven by the audience who will be smitten with the story and delighted by the boys (and girl) on skates.

Theatre reviewer Vicki Gilhula is the associate publisher and editor of the Sudbury Living Magazine Group. An arts lover, she is a longtime board member of the Sudbury Arts Council and a founding member of the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts committee.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Vicki Gilhula

About the Author: Vicki Gilhula

Vicki Gilhula is a freelance writer.
Read more