A Weekend at the Cottage – Summer Fare for Grand Bend
Take a young couple in the 20s, and another couple in the 50s and throw them together in a cottage for a weekend. That’s probably all you need to know about Weekend Comedy, now on stage at Playhouse II in Grand Bend.
It’s typical summer stock fare: funny stuff about the age-gap clash. Each couple fears what they see in each other. The younger couple is afraid they will become staid like the older couple, while the older couple fears they have lost the spontaneity the younger couple has. Of course, in the end, they find out there’s nothing to be feared: in fact, the younger couple seeks the commitment and comfort the older couple has, while the older couple rekindles their passion.
Susan Johnston Collins plays Peggy and is able to create the humour with a slight roll of the eyes or a firm glare. Johnston Collins is a master of comedy just using facial expressions. Peggy is the long-suffering wife of Frank, the typewriter and office supplies salesman who really didn’t want to spend a weekend at the lake. Sheldon Davis plays Frank, garnering laughs with his temper tantrums. Both are Huron Country Playhouse favourites. New to the Grand Bend stage are Emily Oriold and David Coomber, playing Jill and Tony, the younger couple. Young, rich and good-looking, they fit the bill.
The set is excellent. We are inside a beautiful one-bedroom log cottage in the wilderness near a lake. There is a stone fireplace, complete with an antlered deer head. So realistic is the set, that Peggy actually cooks breakfast on stage with the aroma of sizzling bacon filling the theatre!
I have a few concerns, not with this production which is well-done, but with the script:
This is very American material – some of the jokes are lost on our Canadian audience – we didn’t get the Jimmy Carter reference. Our own Norm Foster has many similar comedies that probably offer the same message in a more familiar way which can be appreciated by a Canadian audience. (I did enjoy the shout-out to Canadian Mike Reno and Loverboy – with “Working for the Weekend” playing in the opening scene.)
Perhaps an updated version of this 1982 comedy is needed: they talk about a weekend away with no phone, no TV, no newspaper. Today it should be no cell service and no wifi.
The play also shows its age by perpetuating the tired stereotype that every young man does not want to get married and the girl must set a trap to catch him. In fact, I’m surprised that this 1950s notion still existed in a 1982 play.
Still, if you are just looking for a few laughs, it’s a funny look at the aging process and what it means in your relationship.
Weekend Comedy continues with eight shows a week until August 3 at Huron Country Playhouse, Playhouse II, Grand Bend. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office: 519-238-6000 or Toll Free 1-855-372-9866, or check www.huroncountryplayhouse.com
By Sam Bobrick and Jeanne Bobrick
Directed by Adam Furfaro
Performed by David Coomber, Sheldon Davis, Susan Johnston Collins, Emily Oriold.
Playhouse II, Grand Bend
July 17 to August 3, 2013
Reviewed by Mary Alderson