Covid Comedy Covers Lost Love & Local Politics
A broadcast journalist who had settled for a job as half the team on a radio morning show is suddenly forced out of that position. (You will have to see the play to find out why – no spoilers here.) Charlie King ends up as the manager, news reporter, host, and jack-of-all-trades at a small radio station in a tiny tourist town.
When Covid hits, he has the only other employee of the radio station, Denise, in his bubble. Residents of the local nursing home are sick and dying, and Charlie, the erstwhile reporter, wants to find out what is being done. But he’s stonewalled, and then goes online with the town council Zoom meeting. At the meeting it’s decided to hold a Chase the Ace lottery to raise funds for the nursing home, and Charlie, in an effort to boost ratings, offers to broadcast the winning numbers on the radio, to hopeful gamblers sitting safely in their cars in the parking lot.
But soon Charlie gets the feeling that something isn’t quite adding up. He follows up on his hunches, and the results are not what anyone expects.
Mark Crawford is the comedic genius behind this show. Not only did he write the play, he stars in it. He is the master of rural Ontario humour. All his characters are people you know in your home town. We recognize Charlie King in Chase the Ace – someone who has faced some bad luck but hasn’t given up.
It’s a one-man show, where Crawford plays Charlie, the narrator and main character. But he also plays 16 other male and female characters, with a change in the tone of his voice or a different accent, and a transformation in his mannerisms. Because these 17 characters are people we know, it’s easy to keep them all straight, and Crawford makes them easily recognizable.
There are laughs in every conversation as the mystery unfolds. We even learn why the town was named Port Belette. You might think that there is nothing funny about Covid, but Crawford makes us laugh as we identify with the situations the pandemic has put us in. Crawford the writer neatly wraps up every story line as the play concludes. Crawford the actor gets a laugh from every line and gesture.
He has written several comedies which have proven popular – Stag and Doe, The Birds and The Bees, Bed and Breakfast, and The New Canadian Curling Club. Enjoy the humour in Chase the Ace, and watch for these other titles, if you haven’t already seen them.
Chase the Ace premiered at the Lighthouse Festival in Port Dover this summer and then moved to the Theatre Orangeville. After this run in Prince Edward County, it moves to the Blyth Festival September 8 to 19.
Chase the Ace continues with the Festival Players of Prince Edward County at The Eddie Hotel & Farm, Bloomfield until August 29. For tickets, visit https://www.festivalplayers.ca/.
Chase the Ace runs at the Blyth Festival September 8 to 19. Call 519-523-9300 / 1-877-862-5984 or go to www.blythfestival.com for tickets.
Photo: Mark Crawford as Charlie King and 16 other characters in his own comedy, Chase the Ace. Photo by Imagine Photography – Sarah Kirby
Chase the Ace
By Mark Crawford
Directed by Miles Potter
Performed by Mark Crawford
*** Moved to the Blyth Festival September 8 to 19
The Festival Players of Prince Edward County
Outdoors at The Eddie Hotel & Farm, Bloomfield
August 24 to 29, 2021
Reviewed by Mary Alderson