It’s probably a good thing that the Oakfield Golf and Country Club is a fictitious place. Otherwise, given the comic confusion that thoroughly engulfs its weekend guests, in a bright new production at Upper Canada Playhouse, it might require a new name: the Oakfield Asylum.
Fortunately, audiences coming to see Michael Parker’s mad cap comedy, Whose Wives Are They, Anyway? will be glad they ‘checked in’ to the Oakfield Club where lots of laughter is delivered along with the room service.
“It’s almost a tradition at the Playhouse to start off our summer season with a classic farce,” said artistic director Donnie Bowes, who is also directing the production. “Michael Parker, the playwright, uses the sharp dialogue and the tightly written plot twists” that are the basis of traditional British farce.
“Actually,” Bowes remarked, to the nods of the cast, “we laugh all the time rehearsing this show. It’s just that funny.”
An eight person cast and a script that moves at Mach 2, demand a versatile set design and a first rate stage crew.
Fortunately, according to Bowes, designer Sean Free has been able to create two adjoining ‘bedrooms’ that take into account challenging sight lines and complex stage actions. “Kat (Sokyrko) Jocelyn (MacDowell) and Liam (Collins) are fully occupied back stage and going at a frantic rate.”
The actors are also going at a frantic rate in intensive final rehearsals.
“It’s actually serious business to be funny,” Bowes laughed.
The audience can expect a production that is polished, exhilarating and hilarious.
David and John are just two normal, average guys, out to enjoy a golf weekend (without their spouses) before they take on new jobs under a new boss. They sign into the Oakfield Golf and Country Club, unaware that said boss (played by Mary Ellis as “one who runs a very tight ship”) has also arrived for the weekend.
In typical farce, this plot very quickly involves the sudden appearance of one or two seemingly ‘simple’ problems.
“Then these ‘little’ problems create choices for John and David, the characters make them, and, in no time at all, everything goes totally mad,” Bowes said. “There is comic chaos.”
Bruce Tubbe plays Wilson, the handy-man, who, according to Tubbe, “always has something wrong with me.” Kate Gordon as receptionist Tina, is cool and professional… “until she tastes champagne.”
Erin MacKinnon and Vivana Zarillo, as the ‘wives’ Laura and Karly, unexpectedly arrive at Oakfield to surprise their spouses, and “walk into utter confusion. They are determined to get to the bottom of what is going on.”
Brenda Quesnel, as the manager Mrs. Carlson, believes she is in “the moral majority, but things get very complicated. Wilson is my nemesis.”
Garfield Andrews and Perry Mucci head up the cast as the hapless John and David. “Frankly, we go a bit mad when our boss arrives, trying to find solutions to the fact that our wives are not on holiday with us,” Andrews said. “Yes,” Mucci echoed, deadpan, “there are one or two problems for us with this golfing weekend.”
The puns, the double (even triple) entendres, the twists and turns will all be there in a production that promises to explode with comedic energy.
“And, knock wood, nothing on the set will fall over,” laughed director Bowes.
Whose Wives Are They, Anyway? runs at Upper Canada Playhouse from June 6 to June 30. For tickets and information phone 613-543-3713 or 1-877-550-3650 or go on line at www.uppercanadaplayhouse.com.