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Review: ‘Million Dollar Meatballs’ — a comedic gem by the Lakeside Players

‘Million Dollar Meatballs’ has a regular 7 p.m. performance on Feb. 9, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 11
Lakeside Players’ production of ‘Million Dollar Meatball’ serves up big laughs from start to finish. Chez Monyeu’s dishwasher Olive Pitt (Naomi Letley) returns to discover bumbling jewel thieves Frankie (Graham Fielding) and Bean (Hayley Spackman) in the kitchen posing as chefs as she brings outs the big guns or at least the big zucchini. (Chadd Cawson/Gazette)

The Lakeside Players cooked up a hearty helping of comedy in their new production of Million Dollar Meatballs.

Community theatre fans of all ages showed up for the opening night of the the Kaatza Lakeside Players’ second production since the pandemic at Centennial Hall in Lake Cowichan on Feb. 8. It was a very inviting ambience. with each table divinely decorated with twinkle lights which will make for the perfect dining setting for their dinner theatre performance on Feb. 10.

READ MORE: Lakeside Players dish out more community theatre with ‘Million Dollar Meatballs’

‘Million Dollar Meatballs’ is written by Todd Wallinger and directed by Katie Nott. This is Nott’s third time directing for the Players and the third time is most definitely the charm, as she brings out the best of this brilliant cast in this production full of comedic gems and diamonds in the beef. A nod also must be given to Darcy and Greg Baird for the incredible work they did on both the set and costume design. Audience members were instantly seated inside the walls of Chez Monyeu, and big laughs were on the menu.

The play opens with chef extraordinaire Gordon Ramrod (Benji Nott) perfecting her specialty of ‘ants on a log’ feeling unappreciated by restaurant owner Sue DeJour (Jessica Mattin) she throws in the apron and quits hours before the renowned restaurant critic nicknamed the ‘Butcher of B.C.’ Cecil Blueblood (Benji Nott) is expected to dine and dish out a review that could make or break the restaurant that has seen better days. DeJour calls in a favour to convince her old culinary school chum Pierre Fromage to come and cook up his Million Dollar Meatball specialty, mainly because it is the only thing they have ingredients for in the fridge.

While it’s unclear if the wait and kitchen staff split tips the entire cast playing them waste no time in having audience members split their sides. Dale Clinton plays Russian waiter Boris Stroganoff and nails both the accent and the physical comedy he brings to the stage. Bus girl Ginger Snap (Maggie Smith) either has her head in the clouds, or the local paper, while dishwasher Olive Pitt (Naomi Letley) constantly has her fingers in food or the ketchup bottle, which serves as the perfect condiment for con men and bumbling jewel thieves Frankie (Graham Fielding) and Beans (Hayley Spackman) as they try to lose the coppers Smith (Nikki Berry) and Wesson (Ayla Halusiak).

Beans poses as Chef Fromage while Frankie quickly whips up the fib that he is Fromage’s interpreter and that’s when the Gouda times really start to roll. Spackman’s character may have stole the diamonds but she steals the show as she and her partner in crime stir up comedy as they try to retrieve the bottle of ketchup and the goods it contains while not blowing their cover. Their are not only treasures in the cooking but there are gems in the writing when Frankie asks Beans if she thought the ketchup grew leg and ran away and her reply — it did look a little runny. Laughter also filled the room as Beans gave the garlic bread her stomp of approval.

Rounding off the cast is hostess Humphrey (Zulma Michel) and telegram deliverer Tammy Tonedeaf (Meagan Dalskog), together this entire ensemble serves big laughs on a silver platter and should all be given gold stars for their performances. While the deadline for making a reservation for the night of dinner theatre on Feb. 10 has passed, there are still two more chances to satisfy ones appetite for great community theatre on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. or with a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 11, general admission is $20, and $10 for seniors, students, and children under 10.

Theatre enthusiasts will definitely want to reserve a spot at Chez Monyeu for this restaurant themed romp that is not be missed.