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If you see only one play about male strippers, Scottish sword dancing, and World War II this fall, see this one. Kilt, by Canadian writer/actor Jonathan (Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy) Wilson, takes an improbable (and unpromising) premise and turns it into a charming, sometimes moving comedy-drama. Ryan Clardy plays Thomas Robertson, a Canadian table dancer whose performances as “Tartan Tom” give new meaning to the term “caber toss.” Summoned midfling (the in-bed kind) by his exacting, steel-spined mother, Esther (Dorothy Sheldon), to attend his grandfather’s funeral in Glasgow, Tom initially resists but eventually comes along to protect Grandpa’s kilt, which he wore in the war and Tom now wears to work in a bar called the Ranch. Esther wants to bury her father, Mac, in the kilt—and, it transpires, keep a lot of family secrets buried as well. Many of these are revealed in a late-night whiskyfest with Aunt Mary (Jean Miller), who’s as warm and gregarious as Esther is uptight. Other stories come by way of flashbacks, which show Tom’s grandfather (also played by Clardy) during his war-hero youth. Clardy, who combines Jude Law handsomeness with awesome acting prowess, slips gracefully from one role to another without benefit of costume or lighting changes (it’s just that kilt, the whole night), and as Mac his Glaswegian accent is pretty credible. He’s matched by the charming Miller, as the sort of garrulous, loving aunt that every family, real or fictional, needs. If Sheldon sometimes seems more intent on obeying the script than engaging with her fellow actors, it’s worth noting that her role is an initially unlikable one; by night’s end, as her character has grown, the actress has grown into her role as well. We feel sorry for this dance instructor who warns her students that the tradition is “not to be interpreted, but to be lived up to.” Chris Niebling and John Feist pitch in ably as several characters each—Feist’s David, in particular, shines in a second-half tête-à-tête with Tom. The tone of this finely calibrated production, directed for the Trumpet Vine Theatre Company by Vincent Worthington, never becomes turgid, but neither is this a Kids in the Hall sketch. Instead, the audience spends a couple of hours with fascinating people in compelling circumstances. Add in Clardy’s Ashley MacIsaac-style commando-kilt-kicks and it’s fun for the whole family—the grown-ups, anyway. —Pamela Murray Winters