Written by Maryjane Cruise
Directed by Adam Furfaro
Performed by Melodee Finlay and Brian McKay
Drayton Entertainment Production
Playhouse II, Grand Bend
August 5 to September 4, 2010
Continues at St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre until Dec. 19
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
Cruise Ship Comedy
Separate Beds is a unique little comedy about life on a cruise ship, now playing at Playhouse II, the smaller venue at Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend. This play has the distinction of having act I and act II set in exactly the same time frame.
In act I we meet Ernie and Twink, a middle-aged couple whose four sons have sent them on a cruise. Ernie, a hardware store owner and handyman, would prefer to be at home taking his grandson to hockey practice. Twink is discouraged about the monotony of their marriage and wants to rekindle the flame with Ernie, who fails to share her concern.
In act II, we meet Blake and Beth. He’s a pretentious optometrist, trying to promote his new line of eyewear, while she’s a has-been actress, hoping to land a role in an upcoming George Clooney movie.
We hear from each of them their reactions regarding the other couple. Twink finds Beth glamourous, while Beth envies Twink’s family life. They prove the irony of the old adage “Distant fields look greener”.
The humour is created by the realistic dialogue. Ernie and Twink’s relationship is very recognizable to most married couples. We’ve all met boors like Blake, bragging about his business. They audience loves the familiar situations, laughing uproariously at the battle of the sexes. Credit goes to director Adam Furfaro for keeping the story real and not allowing the humour to become unbelievable.
There are many comedic moments: Twink is nervous on the cruise ship, so she wears a life jacket while reading in bed. The book she picks up is The Titanic.
Melodee Finlay is excellent as both the down-home Twink and the sophisticated Beth. Finlay deserves special mention for coming into rehearsals very late, after the actress originally slated for the role left suddenly for health reasons. Brian McKay, well-known to Huron Country Playhouse audiences for his role this year in Sweet Charity, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in 2008, plays both Ernie and Blake.
The real star is playwright Maryjane Cruise (and yes, that’s her real name!) for showing us the humour in our everyday dialogue. Cruise is a St. Catharines area school teacher who is also a successful writer.
The set, constructed on a rotating stage, is good – we see the outside deck of a cruise ship, then it turns around and we see their bedroom. Twink & Ernie have been assigned separate beds, but in act II, Beth and Blake have a queen-sized bed.
Separate Beds continues with eight shows a week until September 4 at Playhouse II, Grand Bend. Tickets are available at the Huron Country Playhouse box office at 519-238-6000 or Drayton Entertainment at 1-888-449-4463.