THE FIGHTING PARSON
C. H. Gervais.
Volume 11 Number 5.
Among the more flamboyant figures to appear during Ontario's experiment with Prohibition was a Methodist minister, Leslie Sprackling, who was appointed liquor licence inspector in the Windsor area. He led vigilante raids on smugglers and speakeasies and eventually shot and killed a saloon owner who had been a close childhood friend. Gervais's play, based on Sprackling's life, has saloon girls, music (both secular and religious), a little dancing, violence and revenge-almost everything, one would judge, for an exciting evening at the theatre.
In written form, however, the play presents problems for the teenaged reader. Gervais's use of innovative staging techniques, only briefly sketched in stage directions, may make it difficult to follow the action. The characters tend to be stereotypical: religious hypocrites on the one side, and jolly rum-runners on the other. There is even a character named "Frenchy," whose speech is rendered thus: ". . .pull une (sic) bateau d'across la riviere. . ." or "Don't be nerveez. . . ." Although the book is handsomely produced, with a striking cover and excellent photographs, the editing was careless: there are a dozen or so spelling errors of the type that would be embarrassing in a high school yearbook.
Purchase for local interest in southwestern Ontario and where there is a heavy demand for Canadian drama.
Pat Bolger, Renfrew C. I., Renfrew, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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