?Let?s do the Time Warp again!? It is the familiar chant that has become the signature opening for the annual dinner theatre put on by the Grizzly Valley Players, the adult drama company of Theatre On The Ridge.
It was a later month than last year and that did seem to affect the attendance. The theatre group had hoped to sell out as they have done several times with their productions, but came in with an impressive 75% audience capacity.
The show began with the return of the infamous mad scientist and revered time traveler extraordinaire, Dr. Phineas T. Madd (his credits have jumped to first billing and an actual first name ? just like a soap star!) As played by Bob Norman, the doctor was his usual pleasant and observant but always humorously opinionated self. But Norman gets his fun in, as he showed by balancing potentially match-lit marshmallows, on the exaggerated extended cones of Madonna, played wonderfully by Janet Delpierre.
But perhaps that is jumping too far ahead. The cast this year had some new faces, as well as two debut performances by younger thespians Mandy Battenfelder and Cody Shirley. Shirley was clearly (and good naturedly) exploited by the director, Erin Hanna, as he arrived in several scenes as the resident male eye candy.
The troupe performed a total of 17 all new songs and on occasion changed genders and ethnicities. Both Tina Turner and Michael Jackson made celebrity appearances and rocked the crowd. On two occasions, the same person at different ages appeared to compete within a scene. This was the case with a young and current Michael Jackson, played by Jean Pawlucki and Cody Shirley, as well as a young Rita MacNeil played by Charmaine Shirley and a current Rita played by Rose Colledge. The results were great and director Erin Hanna was extremely pleased with the scenes as they merged on stage.
As always, there were some technical and backstage glitches, but let?s not forget the ones that audience was privy to. Madonna lost a cone and the whole place erupted. The dessert break, scheduled after a few scenes of the play to allow set and costume changes, was delayed due to a miscommunication, but Dr. Madd guided the audience through it all. But there was an occasion for Dr. Madd to slip away and suddenly a look-alike Kenny Rogers floated on stage to ?Islands in the Stream?. He was, of course accompanied by Dolly Parton, played by Rose Colledge.
A few dance numbers got the cast synchronized and Granny Marmalade made a return appearance as she snooped her way into a Pussycat Dolls auditioned and took over. To see a grey-haired woman with a horrible coral pink bathrobe push her way into a dance competition, well you can imagine the horror.
A few of the cast members had never had their singing voices heard in such a public way and especially solo performances. ?They are brave and I applaud them for going out and doing this. It?s not easy when you are subjecting yourself like that.? said Hanna, who is always extremely proud of her acting company.
The cast of nine performed 17 songs and skits with their usual fun and at-ease demeanor. Several were subject to nerves, of course and held off their meal until the show was over. The meal, an outstanding prime rib dinner prepared and served by the Ladies Auxillary was well received.
The show was dedicated to barkeep Ronnie Aschenbrenner who has been the server for all of the licensed events for this group. Aschenbrenner will be relocating to Saskatchewan and will be sorely missed.
Quipped Hanna at the curtain call, ?We will miss her and not to be tacky, but anyone wanna be our bartender?? Hanna gratefully accepted flowers from the cast and crew.