Too Many Cooks 2013

Written on August 1st, 2013

What a Farce!

When you sit down in the theatre and check out the stage with its centre entrance, two doors for slamming, four swinging doors, and a chute to the basement, you know it’s going to be a good farce. As any fan of the farce knows, people coming and going through doors and not seeing each other is an important ingredient in funny recipe. With Too Many Cooks on stage at Huron Country Playhouse, you need a menu to follow all the fast, farcical action.

The second ingredient in the creation of a delicious farce is mistaken identities or characters lying about who they are and wearing disguises. There is plenty of that in this kitchen. Thank heavens Frank Plunkett’s name is clearly printed on his suitcase or we would never have known who he is.Too Many Cooks

The Master Chef behind this culinary creation is Marcia Kash and her writing partner Douglas E. Hughes. Kash not only created this play, but also directed it. I love it when a writer directs a show – we know that we are seeing exactly what the creator intended.

It’s all-Canadian, in the style of a British farce, set in Niagara Falls, Ontario in the 1930s. Restaurateur Irving Bubblowe and his daughter Honey unwittingly get mixed up with a bunch of gangsters who are illegally selling booze during prohibition. Stir in a Mountie named Constable Effing, an officious immigration officer and an opera-singing chef: the fun begins.

Another key ingredient is a very talented cast. All eight are gastronomical and comical delights: there isn’t a sour or stale one among them. The always-funny Keith Savage gets spontaneous applause as Bubblowe when he trembles in fear of the mobsters. Jayme Armstrong as his daughter Honey is delightful, especially when she disguises herself with a fruit basket on her head, Caribbean-style.

Darren Keay is hilarious as the hapless Frank Plunkett who stumbles into the middle of the action. Keay keeps the audience in stitches with his on-again, off-again French and Italian accents.

Frank McAnulty as Mickey McCall, the delivery man gone rum-runner creates comedy with his amnesia. The gangsters, Sam Rosenthal as Noodles Feghetti and David Silvestri as Shirley are both perfect as tough guys, along with the queen of farce, Karen Wood as Veronica Snook, the immigration agent. When Veronica’s dress is ripped and falling off her, Noodles says she’s a lady in distress, but his side-kick says “she ain’t in that dress no more!”

David W. Keeley completes the cast as Constable Effing: not only is he funny, but his name causes snickers, too.

There are many laugh-out-loud moments throughout this show: foodies will love this fun romp with the cooks.

Too often, farces dissolve into yelling matches and movement so frenzied it becomes annoying. This farce had just the right recipe: while the many “cooks” stir things up with plenty of action, the comedic talent cast rises to the top!

Too Many Cooks continues with eight shows a week until August 3 at Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office: 519-238-6000 or Toll Free 1-855-372-9866, or check

Too Many Cooks
By Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes
Directed by Marcia Kash
Performed by Jayme Armstrong, Darren Keay, David W. Keeley, Frank McAnulty, Sam Rosenthal, Keith Savage, David Silvestri, Karen Wood.
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend
July 31 to August 3, 2013
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

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