It Runs in the Family

Piles of Humour

Reviewed by Vicki Stokes

Snowflakes are projected on the front curtain and soft Christmas music is playing. When the curtain rises, there’s a modestly decorated tree tucked off to the right side of the stage. On the other side of a window, a wee bit of snow is gently falling. Being sold the idea that it’s Christmas in the summer is symbolic of the deception to come! In fact, the deceptions begin to pile up almost immediately. And the word pile is appropriate, considering all the hemorrhoidal references in this not-for-kiddies farce, It Runs in the Family, at Huron Country Playhouse.

It’s a safe bet that audiences will be entertained, even if the actors just stand and read their lines, considering it was written by a master of the farce, Ray Cooney. And yet this brilliant cast gives it their all, including believable accents and loads of physical humour.

Dr. David Mortimore is in the common room of a British hospital, preparing to deliver a potentially career-altering speech – the Ponsonby Lecture – to an important group of neurologists. The staid Sir Willoughby Drake puts the pressure on, and it is knighthood or nightmare depending on how the speech goes. What a perfect time for a former nurse at the hospital to tell Dr. Mortimore that not only does he have an 18-year-old son named Leslie, this young man is in deep trouble and needs his father, stat!

Leslie doesn’t know what his father looks like, and with Dr. Mortimore’s wife hanging around, the lies begin. With Dr. Bonney as a reluctant ally, and Dr. Connolly and his costumes adding to the confusion, throw in the matron and her needle, crazy Bill, along with a sister and a mother, and the jokes never cease and the swirl of insanity never stops. Even Sir Drake loses his composure. Somehow, the police sergeant manages to summarize the whole absurd scenario in a stroke of brilliance, and before you know it, the pile of lies is upended, the end twists and there is a collective groan.

The whole cast is phenomenal, and most of them are very well known at Drayton Entertainment.  Rob McClure is excellent as Dr. Mortimore who stands to lose everything unless he stacks lies upon more lies. Patricia Vanstone is the epitome of the stoic power-wife. Eddie Glen as Dr. Bonney steals the show at times with his raving movements and that incredible voice work of his. Keith Savage kills it as sharp-as-a-tack and zany Bill, who ponders whether certain body parts are real or just balloons.

From the moment the curtain rises, you are taken on a ludicrous adventure where the humour never stops. It’s a wild ride you might want to see again, just to catch all the jokes and every wild bit of action.

It Runs in the Family continues until August 6 at Huron Country Playhouse, Mainstage. It then moves to Hamilton Family Theatre, Cambridge on August 11. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 519-238-6000 or Toll Free at 1-855-372-9866, or by checking for availability.

Photo: Rob McClure and Eddie Glen, photo by Drayton Entertainment.

It Runs in the Family
By Ray Cooney
Directed by Alex Mustakas
Performed by Laurel Brown, Patrick R. Brown, Eddie Glen, Mary Kelly, Amanda Leigh, Rob McClure, Teddy Moynihan, Keith Savage, Ben Skipper, Patricia Vanstone, Aaron Walpole
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend, July 20 to August 6, 2022
Hamilton Family Theatre, Cambridge, August 11 to August 28, 2022
Reviewed by Vicki Stokes


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