By David F. Rooney
SEX!: it’s one of those words that instantly seizes our full and undivided attention and it’s also the perfect undercurrent for the Revelstoke Theatre Company’s production of Last Tango in Revelstoke.
This short farce, based on British playwright David Tristram’s play, Last Tango in Little Grimley and directed by Robyn Abear, is set in Revelstoke and involves the members of a spectacularly unsuccessful amateur dramatic society who are desperate to raise money to pay their bills. With dissolution on the horizon one of them, Gordon (played by Darren McKay) hits on the perfect solution to the group’s woes: stage a show that is, um, “adult” in nature.
The dialogue and its delivery is excellent. Gill MacLachlan is particularly funny as Margaret, the statuesque member of the troupe encouraged by Gordon to bare her breasts for the good of the club and Emily Beaumont is perfectly clueless as Joyce, an actress obsessed with Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. John Devitt is excellent as Bernard, a cynical and slightly bitter set builder who is sucked into Gordon’s production.
As adult as this may be, there is no nudity of any kind in Last Tango in Revelstoke, but there is plenty of innuendo and the names of local Revelstoke groups — such as the two local newspapers, the Roxy and the Red-Hat Ladies — are skilfully woven into the dialogue.
How funny is it? Opening night saw the play squeeze a a lot of laughs from the audience who were set up for this by Poppi Reiner’s gently humourous look at the in tourism industry, The Ten-Minute Check-In, directed by Peter Waters. Drawing on her experience as the proprietor of Poppi’s Guest House, Reiner wrote the script herself. Although she’s no stranger to the stage, having acted in Vancouver during her previous incarnation as a lawyer, writing a script was new to her.
Her timing and delivery were, for the most part, very good as she guided the audience through her hostel and related amusing anecdotes involving some of the tourists who have stayed with her.
Acting is tough enough, but writing a script and then acting it out is a pretty gutsy thing to do and Poppi carries it off quite well.
Tickets for the next three performances of The Ten-Minute Check-In and Last Tango in Revelstoke cost $10 and are available at the Talisman and at the door. That will be the smartest ten bucks you’ll spend this week.
The Ten-Minute Check-In and Last Tango in Revelstoke are being performed in the United Church Hall on November 19, 24 and 26. The curtain rises at 8 pm sharp. Don’t miss them.