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Directors discuss Tipling Stage Company’s new season




By Marni Walsh

 

The Tipling Stage Company, in partnership with Shelburne's Performing & Visual Arts Board of Management, has announced its 2016-2017 season and the directors are already excited about what they have in store for audiences.

The playbill includes a traditional British sex farce, a much loved classic, and a farcical comedy of errors.

First up in October is No Sex Please, We're British written by Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot, directed by Dennis Stephenson.

“The reading committee felt this audience favourite would be a great way to start the season and also assist on audience build-up to capitalise on last year's successes,” says Mr. Stephenson, who directed The Trouble with Trent last season for the company.

The director calls No Sex Please, We're British, “one of the funniest English farces in the last 50 years.”

“[I] did this show in Brampton 25 years ago and twelve years ago in Caledon…with sold out performances both times,” he says.

Summarizing the popular farce, Mr. Stephenson describes the plot as: “a mixed-up goods order from Sweden by a local London Bank Manager's wife resulting in the shipment of pornographic material.”

The manager enlists the services of his hapless assistant to get rid of the material – however, he proceeds throughout the play to make matters worse!

Dennis calls the play “a combination of The Two Ronnies, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and Benny Hill, with a brand of humour which leaves the audience gasping
for breath between laughs.”

“I will be looking for split second timing, lots of visual gags and fast paced delivery from the cast of five men and four women,” says Dennis of his role as director.

No Sex Please, We're British runs October 14, 15, 16, 21, and 22, 2016.

By the end of January, the Stage Company will be ready to perform the classic On Golden Pond.

Written by Ernest Thompson in 1979, the popular play quickly became an Academy Award winning film two years later starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda.

This time, Bev Nicholas will direct.

“I have directed this play twice before,” says Mr. Nicholas, “at the Curtain Club in Richmond Hill back in the 90s and for Dundalk Little Theatre about 12 years ago. It is one of my favourites and I love it. Also, at my age, I can relate very strongly to it.”

Mr. Nicholas is 82 years old and has been involved in theatre for 70 years.

Mr. Nicholas describes the play as “the story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48th year. Norman is a retired professor, nearing eighty, with a few health problems—but still as tart-tongued, observant and eager for life as ever.

“Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer.

“The boy quickly becomes the ‘grandchild' the elderly couple have longed for and, as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he
also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness - and slang - in return.”

Mr. Nicholas calls the play, “a lovely mixture of comedy and drama. Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together as time, they know, is now against them, but the years have been good and, perhaps, another summer on Golden Pond still awaits.

“All ages will relate to this beautiful play. It is definitely a family show.”

On Golden Pond will be performed at Grace Tipling Hall on January 27, 28, 29, and February 3 and 4, 2017.

Finally, the Tipling Stage Company's 2016-2017 season will wrap up with Don't Dress for Dinner by Fred Carmichael.

Jo Hubbard, like Denis and Bev, is often seen in character performing on stage at Grace Tipling Hall and, like them, is a favourite with audiences.

“Don't Dress for Dinner centers around Bernard and Jacqueline, a not-so-happily married couple, both of whom are having extramarital affairs,” says Ms. Hubbard. “As Jacqueline prepares to go out of town to visit her mother, Bernard invites his mistress and Robert, his best friend (and also Jacqueline's lover, unbeknownst to Bernard), over for the weekend.

“He's even hired a Cordon Bleu chef to cater the evening. Jacqueline discovers Robert is coming to town and cancels her trip, causing Bernard to panic. When Robert arrives, Bernard asks him to pretend Suzanne is Robert's mistress. Robert mistakes the chef (Suzette) for Bernard's mistress (Suzanne), producing a highly complicated dinner of hilarious hijinks, secret trysts and slapstick comedy.”

The Company “thought this would round off a balanced season,” says the director.

The play is “very funny and an audience winner.”

Don't Dress for Dinner plays at Grace Tipling Hall in Shelburne May 5, 6, 7, 12, and 13,  2017. For more information on Tipling Stage Company's new season and purchasing tickets visit their website at: www.tiplingstagecompany.

Auditions for No Sex Please, We're British will be held August 18 at 7 p.m. at Grace Tipling Hall in Shelburne.
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