Upper Canada Playhouse ‘officially’ kicks off the summer, as far as thousands of playgoers are concerned, the moment it opens its doors for its first show of the 2016 season.
Michael Parker’s wild and comic farce, There’s A Burglar in My Bed, will guarantee a laughter-filled introduction to great theatre all summer long.
Burglar runs on stage June 9 to July 3.
Author Michael Parker is British, but he has long lived in the United States, and now describes his works as “American farces.”
He “retains a lot of the traditional British conventions of farce in his plays,” according to Donnie Bowes, who is directing the production. “There’s the physical gags, and all the identity confusion. And typically, his plays usually begin with a huge mistake that throws people into a panic as matters go from bad to worse.”
The cast of seven has its acting work cut out for it with There’s A Burglar in My Bed.
One of the key demands of classic farce is the speed at which lines and actions have to occur.
“You just can’t slow a farce down,” said actor Garfield Andrews, who plays one half of a cheating married couple, the Worthingtons. “You spend half a day blocking out one page for action, and it’s all over during the actual performance in five minutes.”
“It’s a military operation to keep the action moving,” explained actor Allan Cooke, who plays a bumbling detective in Burglar.
“Actually,” added director Bowes, to the laughter of his cast, “I’m known as the Pace Pig.”
Andrews and Cooke are veterans of previous hit Playhouse productions. So too are Susan Greenfield, Jody Osmond, Perry Mucci and Debra Hale. Newcomer Alanis Peart is quickly becoming acclimatized to the theatre.
“Farces really use a lot of the actors’ craft,” Bowes said. “The cast must create characters, create movement and strong voices and the actions are intense. Frankly, farces are a great work-out,” he laughed. “Everyone loses a couple of pounds every day.”
Parker’s comedy revolves around a priceless necklace that the bickering and divorcing Worthingtons both intend to keep their rather greedy hands on.
With the connivance of their respective lovers, and assorted others dragged into their plans, the battling couple launch some consistently mad schemes to seize the necklace.
“Of course everything goes wrong,” said director Bowes.
Garfield Andrews and Debra Hale are the quarreling, wealthy Worthingtons, Ashley and Bill.
Susan Greenfield, who describes her character, Marianne, as a “bit of a cougar” intends to complicate Bill’s life. And Bill’s lover Buffy is “very, very ambitious – ‘nough said,” said Alanis Peart.
Perry Mucci’s Teddy, the boy friend, wants Ashley, yes, “but I also want her money.”
Dragged into the plotting is Deborah, who is the “sister/ side kick who just wants to get business done,” according to Jody Osmond.
Allan Cooke, meanwhile, sums up his character Davis with the observation that “Davis is first and foremost an idiot.”
Working on a dramatic split set, created by John Thompson, with Playhouse technical director Tristan Goethel handling construction, lighting and sound for the show, There’s A Burglar in My Bed will guarantee lots of laughter to start a great Playhouse season.
Contact the Playhouse at 613-543-3713 or 1-877-550-3650 for tickets and information.