“This really is a sparkling summer comedy,” said director Donnie Bowes. “With a farce like Touch and Go, we let the audience check all its stress at the door, and just sit back and laugh. This kind of comedy takes people’s minds off their troubles. And the actors in this cast can really deliver the goods.”
Touch and Go, a mad cap farce from the pen of British playwright, Derek Benfield, the third production of the Playhouse 2015 season, opens August 6, running until August 30. The show’s veteran cast of five is in final, intense rehearsals on an innovative new set designed by John Thompson.
“We try to do one farce every season,” Bowes said. “The key thing about farce, that really entertains audiences, is that the whole play is based on ordinary, every day joes, who make one really bad mistake, a big mistake like theft, embezzlement or adultery, and then get involved in totally ridiculous efforts to cover things up, make everything right. Events snowball. And the fun for the audience is seeing these characters trying desperately to cope with pressure that never lets up.”
The plot of Touch and Go is typical of farce, especially British farce.
One flat is owned by Jessica and George, the other is the home of Brian and Hilary. But Brian is having an affair with Wendy and has asked his old friend George for the loan of his apartment for their romantic ‘rendezvous’. However, what Brian does not know is that George too, is in the midst of an affair: and Brian might be considerably startled to learn with whom!
“George seems like a nice guy,” said Edward Chaplin, who plays him in the show, “but he’s a schemer. He conspires with Brian and the play is triggered by their plotting to deceive.”
“My wife thinks I’m out jogging,” laughed actor Brian Young, ‘but Brian disappears for hours at a time.”
Jessica, who is played by actor and playwright Allison Lawrence, (actually the wife of Brian Young in real life!) is very much in the dark about all the sneaky machinations of her husband and his friend. “Jessica is a very successful designer who is often away from home,” Lawrence said. “And then,” she added laughing, “she comes home one day early from a trip, and that throws the spanner into the works.”
“My character, Hilary, believes that she has the perfect life,” said Susan Greenfield, “but she’s a bit bored. Frankly, Hilary wants to have this mad affair, but she also wants to keep her lovely husband.”
AnnaMarie Lea, who has returned to Morrisburg from her home out west for this production (“I love to tread the boards at the Playhouse,” she laughed) founder of the Cow Patti Theatre, plays Wendy, a cashier, who has met Brian, and begun an affair with him. Unfortunately, Wendy will find the affair anything but romantic once the cover ups and catastrophes begin.
This is going to be a very fast-paced, highly entertaining production.
“Everybody in the show plays his character with absolute realism, and totally straight, and that’s what makes it so funny,” said director Bowes. “And an actor has to make really quick decisions emotionally in a farce,” added Brian Young. “You have to switch gears fast, moving from emotion to emotion.”
“A show like this really allows the audience’s imagination to open up,” said AnnaMarie Lea.
For tickets to the Upper Canada Playhouse’s outrageous and hilarious comedy, Touch and Go, running until August 30, contact the theatre at 613-543-3713.