Duncan’s Mercury Players aim for laughs with first post-pandemic production

‘The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townwomen’s Drama Society Murder Mystery’ premiers Dec. 2

‘The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery’ is the Mercury Players first production after a two-year hiatus thanks to COVID-19. (Submitted by the Mercury Players)

‘The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery’ is the Mercury Players first production after a two-year hiatus thanks to COVID-19. (Submitted by the Mercury Players)

It’s been a two-year hiatus but the Mercury Players are back at it, preparing their first show since the COVID pandemic began.

The Players are putting on The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery, a charming slapstick comedy in the style of The Play That Goes Wrong.

Making up director Rien Vesseur’s cast are, in no particular order, Mary Louise Phillips, Lisa Read, Leslie Sanchez, Bronwen Thorburn, and Keith Simmonds.

As the title would suggest, the play is based on the ladies of the Farndale amateur drama society who are keen to produce shows despite their lack of expertise in doing so. Nevertheless, they write and produce their own murder mystery dubbed Murder at Checkmate Manor but as is wont to happen even for the very best of the best, mishaps abound. True to theatre tradition, however, the show must go on! Prepare to groan and laugh as the protagonists struggle through this play about a play.

“It concentrates on the human condition where we take too much on then realize while we’re doing it that we’re actually not really well equipped for it,” Vesseur explained. “It’s a situation that we all can recognize.”

Vesseur said the embarrassment and awkward moments that are born of those circumstances are what make the play.

“It’s really funny,” he said.

It only adds to the fun that the Mercury Players can actually do it together for the first time in what seems like forever.

“It’s very exciting,” Vesseur said. “Yesterday night [Nov. 22] we had a full-run rehearsal. It ran so well and it was so funny and everybody seemed to be so relieved that we can finally do this again.”

The joy was palpable and can’t be taken away from them even in the event of another flood or pandemic or whatever comes out of the blue.

“There seems to be a disaster every day now,” Vesseur explained, but barring any such occurrences, the show will go on!

The cast and crew are excited.

“It’s so joyful. the whole experience of having rehearsals with a group of people that are so keen is so fun,” he said. “It’ll show in the show that everybody is having an enormous amount of fun.”

With the help of countless others behind the scenes, the play is produced by Judy Buchanan while Cathy Schmidt manages the stage.

“We are so excited to have live community theatre return to the Cowichan Valley,” Schmidt said. “Our show is a comedy as we believe this show will lift spirits as we slowly come out of such a dark place for theatre. As you know live theatre has been shut down since COVID arrived and it is nice to celebrate the return of live community theatre to the Cowichan Valley.”

The show runs from Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 9-11 starting at 7:30 p.m. as well as 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sundays, Dec. 5 and 12 All shows are at the Mercury Theatre on Brae Road in Duncan.

Proof of vaccination is required to attend the show; tickets are $22 each (with seniors and students paying $17), and available from Ten Old Books in the Duncan Garage, First Chiropractic Clinic and on eventbrite: farndale.eventbrite.ca.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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