Odd Couple Poster(2)

“The Odd Couple is a play by Neil Simon. Following its premiere on Broadway in 1965, the characters were revived in a successful 1968 film and 1970s TV series, as well as other derivative works and spin-offs. The plot concerns two mismatched roommates: the neat, uptight Felix Ungar and the slovenly, easygoing Oscar Madison. Simon adapted the play in 1985 to feature a pair of female roommates (Florence Ungar and Olive Madison) in The Female Odd Couple. An updated version of the 1965 show appeared in 2002 with the title Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple.” – Wikipedia

As the saying goes “what goes around comes around” and with this play that seems to happen on a frequent basis. The most notable performance would have to be the 1968 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau. They followed that with their reprised roles in The Odd Couple II, directed by Neil Simon. Now, here we are in 2016 and the show is once again the inspiration for another TV series, oddly enough called The Odd Couple. Not to be outdone by Broadway or Hollywood the Cranbrook Community Theatre, under the direction of Bob McCue brings the iconic characters to life for local audiences.


  • Bob Wakulich                           –  Oscar Madison
  • Peter Schalk                             – Felix Unger
  • Alexander Gilmour                    – Vinnie
  • Barry Coulter                             – Murray
  • Barry Borgstrom                        – Speed
  • Randy Tapp                               – Roy
  • Michelle McCue                         – Gwendolyn Pigeon
  • Andrea Grossman                     – Cecily Pigeon

Directed by Bob McCue and produced by Kristy Quinn

The Setting : Four acts in Oscar Madison’s apartment in New York City.

 Act One: Poker night and where’s Felix?
114. The Card Game
100. The opening card game   108. VINNIE, OSCAR MADISON & MURRAY.102. VINNIE - Alexander Gilmour  104. ROY - Randy Tapp   126a. MURRAY - Barry Coulter110. MURRAY - Barry Coulter
 118. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich   124. ROY - Randy Tapp104. ROY - Randy Tapp132. OSCAR & MURRAY   136. MURRAY - Barry Coulter138. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk        154. FELIX UNGER
Act Two: Two weeks later Felix has moved in
200a. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk206. SPEED - Barry Borgstrom208. MURRAY - Barry Coulter     212. MURRAY - Barry Coulter214. OSCAR & FELIX   202. The New Card Game216. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk
Act Three: The next evening about 7:30 pm
306. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich304. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk   310. CECILY & GWENDOLYN PIGEON - Andrea Grossman & Michelle McCue  318. Guys and Dolls   325. GWENDOLYN, FELIX & CECILY333. OSCAR MADISON
Fade to ACT 4.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” — Intense!!!!

Cat poster 4 x 6

Family politics and sibling rivalry have been around since the beginning of time. All the way from royalty right down to the neighbour just across the street it is one of life’s constants. From Shakespeare’s King Lear to the play that is currently on the stage of the Studio/Stage Door in Cranbrook it is the raw source material of great literature. Once again Director Terry Miller and the Cranbrook Community Theatre have stepped up to the plate and this time they have taken on the monumental Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. For this undertaking Terry has enlisted the following actors in the following roles:

  • Jennifer Inglis as Margaret
  • Sean Swinwood as Brick
  • Alexander Gilmour as Big Daddy
  • Nicola Kaufman as Big Mama
  • Brent Gill as Gooper
  • Nikole Spring as Mae
  • Galen Olstead /Bob McCue as Reverend Tooker
  • Peter Schalk as Doctor Baugh

This is a big three act play that, with intermissions runs for three hours. Set in the delta plantation home of Big Daddy Pollitt in the summer of 1955 it covers all the big themes – sibling rivalry, thwarted professional ambitions and dreams, alcoholism, greed, mendacity, sexual desire and sexual confusion, illness and death. You name it and it’s all in there. Here are some images from the dress rehearsal on Wednesday January 13, 2016 –

200. Sean Swinwood as Brick    206. Jennifer Inglis as Margaret  204 Nicola Kaufman as Big Mama    214. Sean Swinwood as Brick   210. Nicola Kaufman as Big Mama

216. Jennifer Inglis as Margaret 230. Sean Swinwood as Brick  236. Jennifer Inglis as Margaret  232. Sean Swinwood as Brick  250. End of scene one302. Brent Gill as Gooper   306. Galen Olstead as Reverend Tooker  314. Gooper and Mae  318. Mae and Margaret    326. Jennifer Inglis as Margaret   328. Big Mama and Big Daddy312. Gooper, Mae and Big Daddy       338. Nicola Kaufman as Mae  336a. Big Daddy342. Brick and Big Daddy     346. Brick  355. Big Daddy   356. Big Daddy and Brick362a. Rev. Tooker  412. Mae and Gooper  414. Big Mama416. Peter Schalk as Doctor Baugh   420. Big Mama and Dr. Baugh   430. Peter Schalk as Dr. Baugh426. Mae Big Mama and Gooper438. Mae and Margaret  428. Big Mama   448. Big Mama and Gooper 502. Curtain106. Header three



Making God Laugh – Dress Rehearsal

Cranbrook Community Theatre – Making God Laugh full dress rehearsal at the Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook. Wednesday October 7, 2015, 7:30pm.

MGL family A play written by Sean Grennan, Directed by Trevor Lundy, starring Melodie Hull as the mother Ruthie and Michael Prestwich as her husband Bill; Gina Martin as daughter Maddie, David Booth as older son Rick(y) and Woody McGuire as Father Tom, the youngest son.

Movies are about the wham, bam, bang factor with lot of action an unlikely plot twists. As a general rule, films do not emphasize inter-personal relationships and character development. Of course there are exceptions, but I think the general rule applies. Live theater does not lend itself to spectacular car crashes, chases, sinking ships and space Opera cliches. As a result plays tend to have more elements of  human relationships. That is the case with the latest Cranbrook Community Theatre production of Making God Laugh. Here, without giving too much away is the synopsis of the play – “Making God Laugh follows the lives of Bill and Ruthie and their three adult children through more than 30 years of holiday gatherings. Sometimes uproariously funny and other times very moving, the play examines all of the facets involved in being part of a crazy, messed up, but mostly normal, dysfunctional family.”

Tickets are available at Lotus Books and at the door for October 9, 10, 14,15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24 performances at the Studio Stage/ Door in Cranbrook.

Here are the images from the Dress Rehearsal:


114. Ruthie - Melodie Hull  102. Bill - Michael Prestwich  108. Madie - Gina Martin  110. Maddie and Ruthie  116. Maddie - Gina Martin  120. Ruthie and Bill  122. Ruthie - Melodie Hull   140. Ricky - David Booth   142. Maddie - Gina Martin  146. Thomas - Woody McGuire144. The dip  152. The Dip    138. Ruthie Hull  158. Gina Martin  162. Maddie and Ruthie   164. Maddie - Gina Martin  166. Maddie - Gina Martin170. IntermissionCHRISTMAS

200. Madie - Gina Martin   202. Bill - Michael Preswich  206. Ricky - David Booth208. Madie and Ricky  214. Ricky - David Booth216. Bill - Michael Prestwich220. Farther Tom - Woody McGuire218. Madie - Gina Martin  224. Ruthie, Ricky and Madie226. The Family  228. Ruthie and Bill 232. Ricky - David Booth   234. Ruthie - Melodie Hull  236. Ruthie and Ricky  240. Ricky - David Booth   244. Madie - Gina Martin  246- Ricky - David Booth 248. Ruthie - Melodie Hull  250. The family 

252. Intermission


302. The family at New Year    506. Ricky - David Booth508. Ricky and Ruthie  512. Ruthie -Melodie Hull  510. Ricky - David Booth514. Bill - Michael Preswich   518. Father Tom - Woody McGuire   526. Madie - Gina Martin530. Ruthie - Melodie Hull   532. Ruthie - Melodie Hull   534. Ruthie - Melodie Hull 540. Madie - Gina Martin     538. Father Tom and Ricky542. Madie - Gina Martin  544. The Family Portrait“EASTER” AND RECONCILIATION

600. Ruthie - Melodie Hull  602. Bill - Michael Prestwich  606. Madie and Bill 610. Rutie and Bill    614. The family622. Madie's Monologue  632. The family paortrait  634. encore 012. Header 2


SKIN FLICK – A Rollicking Good Time

Skin Flick Poster

This is the press release and it pretty well says it all – it is a great show with lots of laughs. Give yourself treat – spend a night at the Studio / Stage Door.

Skin Flick is 50 Shades of Funny:  The final production of Cranbrook Community Theatre’s (CCT) season featuring plays by Canadian playwrights ends with Skin Flick, a comedic romp written by Norm Foster.  This hilarious one-liner comedy features a married couple and their friend united by unfortunate circumstance. When Rollie and Daphne suddenly lose their jobs and are facing unemployment, an opportunity presents itself that they just can’t refuse. Making a “skin flick” or adult film might not be the first thing that newly jobless professionals decide to throw their last remaining funds into, but after discovering how lucrative the porn industry is, they decide to go for it. With their crude yet savvy cameraman friend, Alex, Rollie and Daphne recruit improbable movie stars in Byron, an awkward bookie, and Jill, a feisty telegram performer.  Norm Foster creatively uses Rollie’s character to narrate parts of the story for the audience. Despite the title of the play, there’s no nudity involved in Skin Flick; rather, Foster uses innuendo and suggestion to tell his tale which results in more than a few laugh-out-loud moments.

Skin Flick features phenomenal local talent on-stage and in the director’s chair. No stranger to heart-warming and funny plays, Bob McCue puts his director’s cap back on for Skin Flick after directing CCT’s highly successful production of Steel Magnolias in 2012. Starring Patrick Baranowski and Tracy McGuire, the cast rounds out with Bob Wakulich, Jerrod Bondy, and Lisa Aasebo.

Don’t miss this highly entertaining production running May 1 & 2, 6-9 and 13-16! Tickets can be purchased at Lotus Books or at the door and all shows start at 8:00 p.m. There is a stair lift available for those with mobility issues. Please call the Stage Door office at 250-426-2490 to book the stair lift in advance. This production is intended for adult audiences – mature content and language.


The Cast of Characters: The husband and wife team of Rollie and Daphne Waters

Patrick Baranowski with his comedic face and Rollie Waters played by Patrick Baranowskipersona plays the soon to unemployed Rollie Waters. His wife Daphne Waters, who is also currently unemployed,  is played by Tracy McGuire Daphne Waters played by Tracey McGuire

And, of course, every guy has a more than slightly worn best buddy. In Rollie’s case he has  Alex Tratt played by Bob Wakulicha now also unemployed TV camera man, called Alex Tratt played by Bob Wakulich. Alex has been fired because his attempts to correct the wardrobe “blouse malfunction” of a well proportioned female newscaster has been misconstrued as “fondling”. Unfortunately this was on screen at the time so it was pretty hard to deny. Also, true to form, the “more than slightly worn buddy” has a significant debt with a less than proficient “Bookie”, called Byron Hobbs, played by Jerrod Bondy. Byron Hobbs Byron has inherited the family business and, despite his snappy appearance, doesn’t have the muscle to make a success of the business.

Last, but not least, the Greeting Card Delivery Person Jill (I am not sure exactly of the  Jill the greeting card girl played by Lisa Aasebojob descriptor) is played by Lisa Aasebo. Jill is less than thrilled with her career choice and is also soon to be unemployed. There you have it; a quartet of economically less than successful protagonists thrown together in what may turn out to be fortuitous circumstances. During the course of the play this unlikely quartet stumbles on a possible solution to their economic troubles. There is money to be made in Porn videos. Without giving too much away here are some images from the dress rehearsal.

The Situations

Alex Tratt played by Bob Wakulich“With my camera on my shoulder I reached out and tried to correct a blouse malfunction.”

 Alex Tratt and Rollie Waters  Alex, Rollie and Daphne  Jill - Greeting Card Phase  Rollie and Jill

Casting interviews and rehearsals

 The casting interview  Jill role playing

Jill    in Rehearsal    in rehearsal      Cameraman Alex Tratt played by Bob Wakulich   in rehearsal   Alex and Jill        Jill     Jill Post-shoot   Dapne post - shooting    Byron after the shoot  Byron and Jill post-shoot       Rollie and Daphne happy with the results

“All’s well that ends well”

The new Byron   Daphne  A happy ending  Rollie - curtain call  Curtain call   Rollie and Daphne - curtain call                         

Once again Cranbrook Community Theatre has another winner with lots of color, lots of costumes, lots of humor and ………. a rollicking good time.


One Act Plays

Two One Act plays at the Studio / Stage Door: rehearsal Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 8pm.

EH & Next posterThe Exquisite HourA one act play written by Edmonton playwright Stewart Lamoine (hurrah for Canadian content), Directed by Elizabeth Ross, staring Jennifer Inglis as Helen Darimont and Patrick Baranowski as Zachary Teale.

Helen Darimont and Zachary Teale“He’s a big galoot” ! It is an expression that probably goes way back to the days of Mark Twain and it is a perfect descriptor for Zachary Teale. It is usually meant to describe some one who is socially awkward and clumsy. It’s not usually meant to be malicious. In in an appropriate context, such as in this play, it can be  term of endearment. Helen Darimont probably thinks of Zachhary Teale as a “big loveable Galoot”. Helen Darimont is a kind of Patti Page / Doris Day character straight out of a 1950’s TV sit-com. The setting of the play and the musical prelude to the play re-enforces that Dejavu notion. It appears to be set in the days when ladies wore dresses and colored co-ordinated ensembles. It is a tale of infatuation and shyness. Helen poses as a door-to-door encyclopaedia sales man (sorry, sales person) and, in developing a sales-pitch rapport,  proceeds to smooth away some of Zachary’s social awkwardness. The play is nicely paced as the characters, with some humor, navigate their way to a point when all is revealed. They are not exactly perfect strangers after all. The cast is perfect; Jennifer Inglis looks and acts like  she is straight out of a 1950’s sit-com; Patrick Baranowski has the right amount of awkwardness for the character he portrays. This is a play well worth giving up a night of television hockey.  Here are some more images from the play:

Helen Darimont played by Jennifer Inglis    Helen Darimont and Patrick Teale   Zachary Teale played by Patrick Baranowski  Helen Darimont and Zachary Teale     Helen Darimont played by Jennifer Inglis Helen Darimont played by Jennifer Inglis   Zachary Teale played by Patrick Baranowski   Helen Darimont played by Jennifer Inglis Helen Darimont and Zachary Teale      Zachary Teale and Helen Darimont   Helen Darimont played by Jennifer Inglis Zachary Teale played by Patrick Baranowski      Zachary Teale and Helen Darimont

NEXT  a one act play written by the American actor and playwright Terrence McNally, starring Peter Schalk as Marion Cheever and Melodie Hull as Sergeant Thech and directed by Bob McCue.

 Marion Cheever and Sergeant Thech Marion Cheever, played by Peter Schalk, is a man who is unfit, fat and 58 years old. He considers himself unsuitable for any role in the army. His task is to convince the Army Induction Centre examining officer, Sergeant Thech played by Melodie Hull, of his unsuitability. Peter Schalk, in a manner that he does so well, does that in a maniac tour-de-force. Melodie, in contrast, is a solid sea of stern calmness. During the Vietnam war era I am sure the army examiners were exposed to all manners of the absurd behavior by conscripts trying to avoid the draft. This scene reminds me of a scene in the classic cult  movie Big Wednesday when all the local surfers, in their efforts to avoid military service, show up as physical and mental head cases. All this in an effort to prove they are unsuitable material to serve in the army. For Marion, in the end,  the evidence is overwhelming but once declared unsuitable the outcome is a little unsettling for Marion. He has achieved what he set out to do but he seems to have some trouble accepting the rejection. Here are some images from the play.

Marion Cheever played by peter Schalk  Sergeant Thech played by Melodie Hull  Marion Chever played by Peter Schalk   Marion Cheever played by Peter Schalk  Marion Cheever Played by Peter Schalk  Marion Cheever played by Peter Schalk Sergeant Thech played by Melodie Hull  Marion Cheever played by Peter Schalk  Marion Cheever played by Peter Schalk Sergeant Thech and Marion Cheever  Sergeant Thech and Marion Cheever  Sergeant Thech played by Melodie Hull Marion Cheever and Sergeant Thech     Melodie Hull and Peter Schalk

This play is another good reason to miss a TV hockey game.



Visiting Mr. Green

Mr.Green poster

What can you do with a good set and only two actors? Actually quite a lot. Case in point is the play Visiting Mr. Green. This is a play written by the American Jeff Baron and is currently playing at the Studio/Stage Door staring Michael Grossman as Mr. Green and Jerrod Bondy as Ross Gardiner. This production is directed by Tanya Laing Gahr in, probably, her last opus for the Cranbrook Community Theatre. Unfortunately for local patrons Tayna is relocating to Vernon. The play explores a number of dimensions of the themes of racial and sexual orientation prejudices and how the issues are mirror reflections in the differing circumstances of the two protagonists.

Mr. Green - Michael Grossman

Mr. Green played by Michael Grossman

Ross Gardiner played by Jerrod Bondy

 Mr. Green - Michael Grossman   Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Brody   Mr Green - Michael Grossman  Mr Green and Ross Gardiner      Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Brody  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy   Mr. Green - Michael Grossman  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy   Mr. Green  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy Ross Gardiner and Mr. Green     Mr. Green - Michael Grossman  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy   Ross and Mr. Green  Ross Gardiner  - Jerrod Bondy  Ross and Mr. Green  Ross and Mr. Green   Mr. Green - Michael Grossman   the set   186. Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy  Curtain CallJeff Baron’s website


As a significant aside I should mention the music selections for the play. As always one of the highlights of the Cranbrook Community productions is their music selections. In the case of Visiting Mr. Green, appropriately, the general mood of the evening was enhanced by a great selection of Klezmer including music by Andy Statman, Geoff Berner and a number of the more traditional ensembles. The outstanding song Weep Bride, Weep by Geoff Berner  almost ran the risk of upstaging the play. Here are some lyrics from the song:

All of the places have been set, I’m so happy all you honoured guests all came
There’s been planning and preparation to put the Normandy invasion to shame
This day is all for you so now there’s nothing left to do but

 weep, bride, weep / weep, bride, weep / weep, bride, weep

Weep, bride weep / now your girlhood is over and your womanhood lies stretched out before you / weep, bride, weep
Like a dull grey matronly corpse on the coroner’s slab / weep, bride, weep
Nothing but the horrifying agony of childbirth for you to look forward to now / weep, bride, weep / While the melodies of yesterday’s parties echo sadly in the past

Weep, bride, weep / Now I’m sorry but it’s time for me to talk about the subject of your husband / weep, bride, weep
 I guess you think he’s pretty ‘cute’ and pretty smart and maybe even pretty deep / well weep, bride weep
‘Cos he’s a closeted marxist who thinks that marriage is state prostitution / weep, bride, weep
So sometimes you’ll have to f**** him just to get him to shut up and go to sleep

Weep, bride, weep / but not too hard, we can’t have you collapsing out of sheer desolation / weep, bride weep
Because we need you functionally depressive so you’ll still get up and drive the kids to class / weep, bride, weep
Well at least tonight your father’s buying all the liquid consolation and the musicians will enjoy the bridesmaids in the ***.


Enchanted April

Enchanted April PosterEnchanted April, full dress rehearsal at the Studio/Stage Door, Wednesday April 10, 2013, 8pm.

It’s a fairly common theme in life and in art. Women, mostly middle aged,  become disillusioned with their hum drum  life and husbands that no longer pay attention to them. They look for a way out, or at least some diversion to color their existence, and often this comes in the form of travel. To turn the old saying on it’s head “a holiday is as good as a change”. I suspect there is a whole sector of the travel industry that caters to these needs. In Australia the The Australian Woman’s Weekly, now a glossy monthly magazine with a circulation of over 500,000/issue,  for years sponsored guided world tours for these jaded ladies. Any casual observation, and an ear for Aussie accents, will detect  hundreds of these ladies getting off the tour buses in Jasper and Banff during the summer. In art, the play and the movie Shirley Valentine explored the jaded female theme. If you remember Shirley had resorted to talking to the wall until she packed her bags and headed off to Greece for a bit of sunshine and whatever to spice up her life. She leaves behind a well  Lottemeaning, but unaware, husband who she hopes will get the message. The play Enchanted April revisits, with some variations,  that same emotional territory. Lotty Wilton, played by Tracy Maguire, after a chance encounter with Rose Arnott, played by Jennifer Inglis, schemes to use her pin money to head off to Italy for some much needed R&R. To defray the cost of the castle they wish to rent they enlist the help of a very  Rose Arnott (Jennifer Inglis)colorful but  jaded socialite, Lady Caroline Bramble, played by Michelle Lemay,  and an older lady, Mrs. Graves, played by Nicola Kaufman. The first half of the play revolves around their schemes, anxieties and apprehensions.  Lady Caroline (Michelle Lemay)Lotty is all gungho while Rose is not so sure. Meanwhile the husbands Mellersh Wilton (Sean Swinwood) and Frederick Arnott (Peter Schalk) are mostly oblivious to the ongoing emotional dynamics. The play is set in the years immediately following World War I and the great ‘flu pandemic of 1919. There is sense of loss and aloneness that pervades the first half of the play. The director Terry Miller has done a great job of enhancing these emotions as well as invoking a dreary England with it’s never ending rain and dull interiors. He skillfully moves the first half of the play through nine scenes and eight  Mrs Graveslocations with only slight variations of a single set. All of that changes when the action moves to sunny Italy. I wish I hadn’t left the room for the intermission when they changed set. The contrast between dreary England and sunny Italy is astounding.  I spent a good portion of the second half of the play trying to figure out how they changed the set so quickly and dramatically. The Italian sunshine, the castle, the Anthony and Constanzasetting, the maid Constanza (Andrea Grossmand)  and the owner Anthony Wilding (David Popoff) all work their magic on the ladies as they slowly undergo their respective transformations towards happy resolutions at the end of the play.

Even before the play started, while waiting for the curtain to rise (so to speak), the choice of music, prepared me for a wonderful evening. The choice of Dick Hyman, one of my very favorite  piano players, created the appropriate atmosphere for the opening act. For those of us who notice these things Dick Hyman, although not a household name,  is a favorite of Woody Allen and has often been featured on the sound tracks in many of his films. He is an incredibly skillful musician whose repertoire virtually run the whole gamut of jazz piano. Later, in keeping with the switch to sunny Italy, Dick Hyman took a rest and the music became decidedly Italian with a great selection from the  Italian operas. Even the piano music, though not Italian (maybe Spanish),  that Mellersh Wilton was “playing” off stage towards the end of the play was a delight.

Here are some more images from this delightful play – first dreary England
(click on the images for larger views).

Lottie (Tracy McGuire)      Rose      Lady Caroline      Lotte       Fred Arnott (Peter Schalk)       Anthony Wilding (David Popoff)   Lady Caroline, Lotte and Rose                Lotte and Mellersh     Rose and Frederick      Frederick Arnott      Rose         Rose    – and in Sunny Italy:

Anthony Wilding (David Popoff)         Lady Caroline       Rose Rose        Lotte        Lotte and Rose Mrs Graves        Anthony       Mrs Graves Rose         Frederick       Constanza (Andrea Grossman)      Mellersh and Lotte Wilton in the moonlight


It’s a Wonderful Life – The Live Radio Show

CRANBROOK COMMUNITY THEATRE PRESENTS: It’s a Wonderful Life – The Live Radio Show, at the Studio/Stage Door in Cranbrook. Performances December 7,8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 2012.

As a Christmas story “A Wonderful Life” ranks right up there with Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” and it is obvious that the director Terry Miller really, really likes this script. He directed the show two year ago and he is back with a new production for this year’s Christmas season. Some actors have returned for this production (Peter Schalk, Sioban Staplin, Jennifer Inglis) and are joined by David Popoff (fresh from the radio flavoured Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River), Sean Swinwood and a cameo appearance by Bud Abbott. Based somewhat on the old black and white film “Miracle on 34th Street” (or at least I remember it as black and white, maybe they have colored it up by now) that is screened on network TV every Christmas. It is the story of an adventurous youth trapped by circumstances that in turn leads to despair and finally redemption. That’s all very well of course but I don’t think that the actual story line is the reason that this play works so well. For me it’s more about the power of imagination. Before TV there were ‘Motion Pictures’ and Radio and of the two, radio was the one that really fired the imagination. I remember radio and the serialised adventure shows (Superman, The Phantom, Biggles, and the like) with larger than life voices, dialogue and sound effects that enthralled the mind with endless possibilities. Those possibilities have been captured on this stage in a marvelous period piece of a time before our time. A time when people dressed up, men wore double breasted suits and women pulled compacts out of their purses instead of cell phones. And when was the last time you saw a young man stand with his hand in his pocket just so? For most people the play will invoke images from the film and that is fine. However, may I suggest that the play and the production share a sensibility that was displayed in Woody Allen’s 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo. Maybe I am stretching it, but David Popoff could have stepped down off the screen in that Woody Allen film. Once again the Cranbrook Community Theatre actors  and director have managed to master a multitude of roles, voices and a mountain of dialogue to add substance to our imagination in this well known entertaining story.



Steel Magnolias

In days of old the Islamic world had Harems. In modern western society we have Beauty Salons. Both, I suspect, serve very similar functions. They are both exclusively the domains of women. Men are excluded and under normal circumstances would not want admission. Steel Magnolias is a glimpse into this world of sisterhood. The play is set in a home based beauty parlor in Chinquapin, Louisiana and is an exploration of the lives and transformations of the six protagonists over a three year period. Annelle (Hannah Van Der Roest) is the young miss fresh out of school trying to come to terms with an unsatisfactory relationship and is desperately seeking employment and independence. Hairdressing in Truvy’s salon is the first step in her transformation from naivety through worldliness to born-again Christianity.


Shelby (Kirsten Kasner) could be a stereotypical prom queen. In this instance she is an attractive young woman with an obsession for the colour pink and suffering from a very serious diabetic condition. She gets married, and against medical advice has a child and ends up with terminal renal disease. Throughout the process she goes through her own emotional and physical transformations that include a hair make over and dealing with the outcomes of her decisions.  M’Lynn (Michelle McCue) is her long suffering mother who tries to deal with the decisions of her willful daughter and is left to cope with the consequences. Among the constellation of characters there is Clairee (Elizabeth Ross). A very attractive wealthy matron who starts out as an avid football fan and ends up as a radio station owner. Ouiser (Joanne Wilkinson) is the eccentric in the pack. She behaves the way she does because people expect her to wear outlandish hats, clothes and act as a crazy old lady. That’s what people expect so that’s what they get. Despite that, this crazy old lady does undergo some moderation of her eccentricities within the the turmoil of the Salon. Truvy (Susan Hanson) seems to be the least affected by change. She reacts to the constellation of characters that inhabit her salon but she under goes no significant changes or transformations. In fact she doesn’t even get her hair done. She seems to be the rock solid centre of what is after all her salon. She’s a hairdresser and therefore it’s her business to bring about change. “There is no such thing as natural beauty”, or so she thinks. So in addition  to the meaningful personal transformations of the protagonists there is the manic outcomes of the hair styling process and the behavior of the patrons and their families (including the gun toting husband of M’lynn and Ouiser’s hairless dog – all of whom are off stage).

Here are some images from the life and times of Steel Magnolias:


The play STEEL MAGNOLIAS, written by Robert Harling and directed by Bob McCue is playing at the the Studio / Stage Door in Cranbrook. The shows are Friday and Saturday of November 16th and 17th of November, Wednesday to Saturday November 21-24th, 2012 and Wednesday to Saturday November 28, 29, 30 and December 1, 2012. All shows are at 8pm and Tickets are available from Lotus Books.


“Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River”



Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River

at the Studio / Stage Door

Thursday, Friday and Saturday

October 4, 5, 6th, 2012

Tickets are $15 and are available at Lotus Books

This charming play is about the early years of radio in Canada’s hinterlands.  In 1932, Jane, a 30-something woman pursuing one dream while avoiding several other bad ones, accidently arrives in Pickle River, a far-flung mining town in northern Ontario. There she meets Roy, a young entrepreneur who is launching a fledgling radio station just as the medium is beginning to take the country by storm. In Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River, two talented actors portray six characters to create a magical staging of the people and places of Pickle River, Ontario. Local Director Tanya Laing Gahr has assembled a stellar cast, starring Lisa Aasebo and David Popoff.

Here are some images from the full dress rehearsal:                                                            This is such a fun play that it would be a shame to miss it … be there.