Call it a seven-year itch, a mid-life crisis or just a case of ‘a change is as good as a rest’, but Upper Canada Playhouse’s next hilarious comedy is all about a marriage on the rocks. And like all good comedies, Wife Begins at Forty, by Arne Sultan, Earl Barret and Ray Cooney, employs a good sense of humour to get people through the ups and downs of life by allowing us to laugh at ourselves.
In fact, people can be at their funniest when they’re under pressure or stress.
Wife Begins at Forty, running August 2-26, takes place at the Harper residence. (No, not 24 Sussex Dr!) Rather it’s the fictional home of Linda and George Harper, a house they share with George’s father, Bernard, their sixteen-year old son, Leonard, and their family dog.
However, all is not well in suburbia!
Wife Linda wants a change.
Nothing seems to excite her anymore and she’s looking for a new direction in life. Unfortunately this is terrible news for poor George who hasn’t tuned into his wife’s frustration: he tries in every way he can to satisfy her.
Even the best efforts of neighbours, Roger and Betty Dixons, cannot help rescue the marriage.
Inevitably there is a separation and George agrees to move out to give Linda some space and the chance to ‘find herself’.
Returning to the household to spend Christmas with his family, George hopes to be received with open arms only to find that everyone’s moved on quite happily. His last ditch efforts to get the romance and marriage back on track result in a hilarious scene that will leave audiences howling with laughter.
‘It’s the kind of funny and breezy comedy that our audience has come to expect in August. A great way to cool off and laugh away the heat!’ remarks Artistic Director Donnie Bowes.
The blue chip Playhouse cast will ensure the laughs are plenty.
The play stars Brian Young and Alison Lawrence as George and Linda Harper. ‘It seems to be a trend this summer, though unintentional, that we’ve had two real-life couples acting opposite one another on stage. First Melanie Janzen and Jamie Williams in the current play, Here on the Flight Path, and now Brian and Alison who play husband and wife in a rocky marriage. Here’s hoping it doesn’t affect their off-stage lives!’ laughs Bowes.
Not a chance of that with this talented acting duo. They’ve both appeared in several shows at The Playhouse and shared the stage in last summer’s August hit comedy Not Now Darling.
Young was recently seen in The Foursome. Lawrence’s connection with The Playhouse goes back many years. She actually appeared with Donnie Bowes in The Playhouse’s first production of Norm Foster’s The Affections of May (with Bowes in a bunny suit and Lawrence as Little Bo Peep).
Joining them is veteran actor Walter Learning as George’s father, Bernard. Learning has entertained Playhouse audiences as a hapless older gentlemen in such comedies as Run For Your Wife, There Goes the Bride and many more.
Melanie Janzen plays neighbour Betty Dixons and is currently rehearsing while still performing Here on the Flight Path running until July 29.
Newcomer to the Playhouse is Kyle Orzech who plays George and Linda’s son Leonard. Orzech is a talented young actor who has already been seen on the Toronto stage and recently finished a tour of Saskatchewan. He will soon be heading to Theatre New Brunswick for a four-month engagement.
Rounding out the cast as neighbour Roger Dixons is Richard Bauer, who also directs the comedy. Bauer has not only been seen in many Playhouse shows over the past several years, but has directed several of the theatre’s August comedies including such hits as Not Now Darling and There Goes The Bride.
An added treat for audiences in this production will be the occasional appearance of the family dog in the play. The theatre is currently narrowing down its prospects for this star canine!
For information and tickets for Wife Begins at Forty, opening August 2, contact Upper Canada Playhouse at 613-543-3713.
Here on the Flight Path continues at the Playhouse with the final performance taking place on July 29.