If you are suffering from the winter blues, ECHO Players next production, You Can’t Get There From Here is sure to bring on some chuckles.
Although the play, written by Pat Cook, has a threadbare plot whose main purpose is to gather a bunch of crazy characters on stage, the director is confident there will be plenty of belly laughs for the audience.
Wendy Punter said the play centres around a giant pot hole. A big city reporter named Arthur Lyman gets stuck in a small town because of a pothole the town “voted” for.
The scandal sheet reporter decides to do an exposé on the pothole scam and checks into the Mavis Garner Bed and Breakfast.
He meets Liz and Myrtle who run the B&B and do double duty as city officials and fleece him out of his money.
Arthur, who is stuck in town until his car can get fixed, falls in love with Ann, Liz and Myrtle’s niece.
During his stay, he’s fined eight times, dragged across town by the local watchdog and fired from his job. Punter said it’s the perfect play for this time of year.
“Most people are suffering the blahs. Christmas has come and gone, Easter is still an age away and the weather is miserable,” she said. “What can we do? Go and have a good laugh at the play. That is what this is.”
She admitted it is not a thick plot, stressing it’s done purely for laughs.
“Its not a family story, its just pure comedy and it is funny.”
Punter who has directed a number of ECHO productions said comedies can be challenging to direct but for her it is a natural fit.
“I come from Liverpool. All the good comedians, especially the ones on the radio, came from Liverpool.
“Its all about timing. It is natural so I think that has given me the sense of timing that you need to make a comedy funny.”
She said passing on her comic timing to her cast has been an easy job and she is particularly thrilled with the performance of Anne Jinks, who had never acted before, taking on a lead role in their production of Robinson Crusoe.
“She was brilliant in Robinson Crusoe. She is so funny,” Punter said. “We all start laughing when she comes on.”
Punter said Alycia Dunbar, who plays Ann and James Matthews, who plays the character of Arthur ,are now an item and although she was worried the romance could create some issues, so far that hasn’t been the case.
“They come as a team now and that makes it slightly more difficult to direct but they are both sweet people and it works out. James is so easy to direct. I wish all actors were like him.”
Punter said her husband Don designed the set and she is thrilled with it.
“It is an interesting layout. He was precise with his measurements and he is pleased it worked out.”
Punter said aside from some cast members getting sick, rehearsals are progressing and she is looking forward to opening night on Feb. 9.
The play, at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach, runs until February 24.