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    Categories: Entertainment

Theatre troupe gets busy

Miss St. Albert Theatre Troupe’s opening show of the season – Hotbed Hotel? Not to worry.

The locally-based theatre company is top heavy with plays for its second lap of the season. Not resting on its laurels, the troupe is running three shows between February and April.

The new year kicks off with Bernard Slade’s Broadway hit Same Time Next Year, directed by Paul Kane High alumna Kate Elliott.

Opening Feb. 13, the two-hander is a fun, provocative look at lusty sex. Sexual attraction draws Doris and George together for a weekend a year for 25 years in spite of being married to other people.

Beverly Luckett-Nafe (Hotbed Hotel, Wife Begins at 40), a regular from the theatre troupe’s stable, and Kevin O’Connell, a weather specialist with Global Edmonton, star as the leads.

O’Connell is the highest profile personality to perform with the troupe since its inception three years ago.

“He’s an old friend of mine from Red Deer. He’s always been very nice, and as a producer, I knew him as an actor,” says producer Mark McGarrigle.

As for Luckett-Nafe, “When she comes on stage, she puts on a really strong performance. She has a great personality and can handle a range of emotions demanded from this character.”

For Sam Bobrick’s The Spider and the Fly, opening March 13, the company has made a small but significant shift in how it operates. Louise Large, another Paul Kane alumna, directs the psychological thriller.

In an effort to bring flexibility and variety into its bill, the dinner theatre company is experimenting with this production as strictly a drama without a meal option.

In this thriller, two stories unfold in the same time and space. Maura and Scott meet on jury duty and become romantically involved. As the relationship develops, they begin to disagree on the verdict.

At the same time their story runs its course, Jan and Tom weave their relationship in an unusual direction that, strangely enough, intersects to the murder case.

“Sam is a very strong writer and his characters are very definitive. We believe this will be a success with our audience base and hopefully we can attract new theatre-goers,” McGarrigle said.

Capping off the season is M.Z. Ribalow’s Shrunken Heads. In this off-the-wall dinner theatre comedy, Dr. Bob Hyde is a successful, slightly stressed-out psychiatrist who just wants some peace and quiet at his country estate. No such luck.

As he is unwinding from a long week, in bursts a pack of crazies. There is neurotic patient Dorothy Putney, daughter Caroline who has dropped out of her seventh college, and ex-wife Jennifer. Adding a firecracker touch is Norman, Jennifer’s new husband, who thinks she’s having an affair and shows up with a gun.

Directed by Sandra McCallum, this farcical crowd pleaser opens April 24 with McGarrigle in the skin of Bob Hyde.

“It’s got smart dialogue and I’m looking forward to being in this one. Ribalow is a fine writer and has some really funny stuff in the script.”

For more information visit stalbert.theatre.com.

Note: The original version of this story mistakenly identified the male lead of Same Time Next Year as Global Edmonton sports anchor Kevin Karius. The Gazette apologizes for the error.

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.