Tag Archives: Huron Country Playhouse

Diva moved to tears by this memorable performance

18 Jun
Colin Sheen, Danielle Wade and company in Anne of Green Gables,  2015 Season at the Huron Country Playhouse near Grand Bend. Photo credit: Darlene O'Rourke

Colin Sheen, Danielle Wade and company in Anne of Green Gables, 2015 Season at the Huron Country Playhouse near Grand Bend. Photo credit: Darlene O’Rourke

By Diva Caroline Thuss

Watching freckle-faced, red-haired, melodramatic orphan Anne (with an E) brought back so many wonderful memories for me as I attended the engaging opening night performance of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical at the Huron Country Playhouse. This was an excellent choice to open the season as it offers so much for all theatregoers and also holds a special place in the heart of Artistic Director Alex Mustakas, who performed the role of schoolteacher Mr. Phillips in the Charlottetown production back in the 1980s.

Based on the classic Canadian novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables will have you humming and singing (quietly) along to songs like “Ice Cream”, “Gee, I’m Glad I’m No One Else But Me” and “Kindred Spirits”. Danielle Wade (you might remember her from the CBC reality series Over the Rainbow) brings the energy and the spunk needed for the character of Anne and an exceptionally strong voice that brings together all the laughter, frustrations and tears that Anne experiences throughout the musical.

Joining Wade is an extremely talented cast composed of Susan Gilmour (Marilla Cuthbert), Ted Simonett (Matthew Cuthbert) who really add heart and comedy to the production as they play off each other with friendly banter.  Jade Repeta as Diana Berry, Anne’s best friend, and Colin Sheen as the rival Gilbert Blythe steal the show at certain points. When Diana joins Anne for afternoon tea that includes what is thought to be raspberry cordial, it turns into what has to be one of the most comical scenes. As Diana downs the bottle leaving Anne to deal with her strange behaviour.  I am sure many of us have had to deal with a friend like that at one point in time. When Blythe puts the frog down Anne’s dress and, along with the rest of the male chorus, imitate all of Anne’s jerky moves as she tried to get the frog out, that it is impossible not to laugh a good belly laugh.  Wade and Sheen are able to capture the many frustrations that school-aged pre-teens and teens have with each other and I swear that I remember feeling the same frustration when I was young that Wade’s Anne does to Gilbert’s teasing and silly behaviour. The choreography that accompanies the great egg-on-spoon race at the church picnic was high energy and defied all the laws of gravity.

One song, sung by Simonett towards the end of the performance, brought many members of the audience to tears (including me) as you could truly see the beautiful relationship that his character developed with Anne.

The creative team under the direction of Max Reimer, has create a performance that is sure to be a winner in the hearts of all theatregoers.  Anne of Green Gables charmed its way into my heart, as I am sure it will for many others. Make sure you get tickets before the show ends its run on June 27th.

Tickets are $42 for adults and $25 for youth under 20 years of age. Tickets for preview performances and groups of 20 or more are $34. Tickets may be purchased online, in person at the Drayton Entertainment Box Offices, or by calling (519) 238-6000 or toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).



Sexy Laundry: A mid-life attempt to rekindle romance

12 Jun
Gabrielle Jones and Sheldon Davis in Sexy Laundry, Huron Country Playhouse II, 2015 Season. Photographer: Darlene O'Rourke

Gabrielle Jones and Sheldon Davis in Sexy Laundry, Huron Country Playhouse II, 2015 Season. Photographer: Darlene O’Rourke

By Diva Christine Harris

I was pleased to be one of the lucky Divas assigned to check out one of the plays at Huron Country Playhouse.

Last year I went to see a British farce called Look, No Hans at Playhouse II, and the classic Les Miserables on the Mainstage.

HCPgazeboThis theatre truly is a gem in our backyards, with outstanding performances and great ticket prices. I was given a warm welcome by the staff at the box office and offered VIP cards that treated my date and me to refreshments after the show. This year the Playhouse is celebrating its 44th season and is enjoying the new addition of a beautiful large gazebo at the front of the property. General Manager, Peter Black has invited us to picnic there before seeing one of the shows. In the crowd were special guests during opening night, South Huron Mayor Maureen Cole and Deputy Mayor David Frayne. After the show as with any opening night, we are invited for a luncheon and to meet the cast.

I have to say, this is probably the funniest show I have seen yet! With a packed crowd, there were lots of laughs and even a few gasps of surprise! I can tell you a little bit about the show, but I don’t want to give it away because you really need to see it for yourselves. This Canadian comedy, written by Vancouver’s own Michele Riml is about a couple that has been married for 25 years. Henry, played by Sheldon Davis, and Alice, played by Gabrielle Jones, are getting away for the weekend in a swanky hotel to try to reignite the flame that is their marriage. Armed with the book “Sex for Dummies” Alice is determined to spend the weekend spicing up their love life, and Henry keeps getting distracted by the cost of the hotel and all of its additional amenities. The constant banter back and forth between the couple had the audience in stitches, Alice always having to be right and Henry being reluctant to try new things. It makes them evaluate where their marriage has gone in those 25 years, and how they’ve changed throughout the years.

Regular performance tickets are $42 for adults; $25 for youths under 20 (although this show is not recommended for children), groups of 20 or more are $34. Sexy Laundry runs until June 27th. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Huron County Playhouse, online a or by calling the Box Office at (519) 238-6000 or toll free at 1-855-drayton (372-9866).


Huron County Playhouse II – Run for Your Wife

30 Jul
David Leyshon, Michael Lamport and David Talbot Run For Your Wife, 2014 SeasonPhotographer, Scott Williams  Photo taken from the website - http://goo.gl/6KUiIl

David Leyshon, Michael Lamport and David Talbot
Run For Your Wife, 2014 Season Photographer, Scott Williams Photo taken from the website – http://goo.gl/6KUiIl

by Diva Christine Harris

After having a wonderful time at the Huron County Playhouse II in June, I was really looking forward to my visit this month in July.  This time I would be seeing a British Farce by Ray Cooney called “Run for Your Wife”.  David Leyshon stars as a taxi driver named John Smith who has been successfully keeping two marriages a secret until he has an accident at work and bumps his head.  This throws off his entire schedule that has been keeping things running smoothly, and now he has to try to pick up the pieces to keep each of the wives from finding out about each other.  The set was brilliantly crafted by David Antscherl who has separated a large room by colour so that the actors could either use both sides at once to simulate both wives at the same time, or use the whole set at once as one of the homes.  Once the wives Mary and Barbara played by Susie Bernett and Stacy Smith realize that John is not home on time from work (because he keeps a precise schedule), they fret and worry.  Complications ensue when police Sergeants played by David Talbot and Anthony Bekenn become involved even when neighbours played by Michael Lamport and Aidan deSalaiz try to help out.   Find out if John Smith can keep his double life a secret by booking your tickets today!

Run for your Wife runs at the Huron Country Playhouse until August 2nd.

Drayton Entertainment
Huron Country Playhouse
RR 1, the “B Line”
Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0
GPS coordinates: N 43° 18.834 W 81° 43.549


I’ll Be Back Before Midnight at the Huron Country Playhouse

10 Jul

HCPlayhouseby Diva Calista Powell
I can confidently tell you two things about myself; 1: Im no theatre buff and 2: I am terrified of horror movies. Despite this, I had an absolutely wonderful time seeing, “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” at the Huron Country Playhouse.

Set in the 1980’s at a spooky and secluded farmhouse, the characters of this play did an excellent job of making their roles believable. I half expected as I left the theatre to see Jan, the neurotic city girl and her geeky inventor husband, Greg, doing the tourist thing out at a local flea market. I could picture Greg’s pretentious sister, Laura, clanking on the boardwalk in her stiletto’s shaded by a parasol. And I most definitely could see George, the hard working farmer stopping into Kate’s Station to meet up for some gossip with the good ‘ol boys.

It is performers like this that bring these stories to life with such vigour and passion that make it such an enjoyable experience. I must admit, it takes a lot to get me to laugh out loud, but the theatrics that these actors presented had me chuckling and I found myself jumping out of my seat as ghouls and ghosts popped out of the shadows.

This may not be a play for the faint of heart, but it is most definitely a unique blend of humour and horror that showcases the amazing talent that Huron has to offer. From the set design, to the 80’s costuming, to the comedic display of pyrotechnics and lighting, I’d recommend this production to theatre-goers and rookies alike. Be sure to check out the show playing in Plahouse II before it closes on July 12th.

For tickets, visit:
Drayton Entertainment
Huron Country Playhouse, RR 1, 70689 B Line, Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0
GPS coordinates: N 43° 18.834 W 81° 43.549
Box Office: 519-238-6000 Administration: 519-238-8387 Fax: 519-238-6587


Too Many Cooks

21 Aug

Too Many Cooksby Diva Susan Pye

On a beautiful Huron County summer afternoon earlier this month, a friend and I went to see “Too Many Cooks” atHuron Country Playhouse.  On the drive down to Grand Bend,  we wondered a little what we were doing, going inside to sit in the dark on a glorious sunny day.  However, we were well rewarded (and cool!) as we laughed, and occasionally guffawed, while we watched this very entertaining fast-paced farce.  Various characters popped on and off stage through 4 different ‘doors’ including my personal favourite a swinging door (you just know someone is going to get it in the face to comedic effect!). Those characters included a ‘Dudley DoRight’ mountie, a Chicago rum-running gangster,  a confused singing (not really) chef, a diligent though lonely government agent, and an embattled would-be restauranteur struggling to open his upscale establishment in Prohibition-era Niagara on the Lake.  What was truly impressive was the actors’ abilities to keep up the pace, manage the tricky timing of the dialogue, as well as the very physical aspects of the show…. and make us laugh!

While “Too Many Cooks” has finished it’s run at the Playhouse, Mary Poppins is now showing until August 31.  This is of course the wonderful musical, and  will be a huge hit with families as well as oldies like this Diva, nostalgic for Julie Andrews airborne via umbrella, and the  60’s.  What a wonderful way to wind up the summer, singing along with Mary, Jane and Michael Banks! Huron County is particularly blessed to have this quality of entertainment so readily accessible, providing a yet compelling reason to visit Ontario’s West Coast-  we’re not just another pretty  beach!

Huron Country Playhouse
RR 1, 70689 B Line, Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0
GPS coordinates: N 43° 18.834 W 81° 43.549
Box Office: 519-238-6000 Administration: 519-238-8387 Fax: 519-238-6587

Buddy Holly Rocks!

22 Jul
Image from Drayton Entertainment website

Image from Drayton Entertainment website

by Diva Nicole Olson

Last week, my Mom and I went to see the Buddy Holly Story at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend. I had never been to this theatre before, and I was pleasantly surprised at the size and overall atmosphere. The Buddy Holly Story was performed in the larger of the two playhouses and we had the best seats in the house! We were seven rows from the front and  in the middle of the row. I felt like Buddy was singing exclusively to me the entire show. The details in set design, costumes and props are what helped to transport you back to the late ’50s, where it all took place.

The show reenacts key aspects of the short, but incredible career that the Rock ‘n Roll singer/songwriter had. The talented cast depicted how he got started in the professional music business with his band the Crickets in Lubbock, Texas. They describe how he met, and fell in love at first sight with his wife Maria Elena Santiago. The show shares personal stories from his life and offers insights into the inspiration for several of his hit songs. What he was able to achieve, by the age of 22, was nothing short of extraordinary.

To say the cast has talent, is such a huge understatement. They all sang amazingly, especially Andy Christopher who played Buddy. In addition, they played instruments (some actors played several) and they danced. The double bass player put on an unbelievable performance of stunts with his instrument, and that in itself was worth seeing. They wanted to make the audience feel as though they were at one of Buddy’s concerts, and that is exactly what transpired. People were literally dancing in the aisles.
This show is all about the music. It’s full of hits like “Oh Boy,” “That’ll be the Day, and “Peggy Sue.” They also include songs from a few other artists from that time period. I grew up listening to eight tracks at my grandma’s house from the likes of Elvis, Patsy Cline and others of that generation. In the days since taking in this performance, I have found myself humming along to some of the songs and watching Buddy Holly performances on YouTube. I love the classics from that time period, and I absolutely loved this show.
Huron Country Playhouse
70689 B Line  South Huron, ON N0M 1T0
Box Office: 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866) or Buy Online www.draytonentertainment.com

Tuesdays with Morrie in Grand Bend

4 Jul
Mitch & Morrie.  Photo by Darlene O'Rourke

Mitch & Morrie. Photo by Darlene O’Rourke

by Diva Trista Russell

Last week I headed to Playhouse II at the Huron Country Playhouse to watch Tuesdays with Morrie. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about the play before I saw it, but I had heard of the book. I had a feeling that the show would cause a few tears, so my Mom and I both brought some tissues—just in case.

Tuesdays with Morrie is based on a true story about a sports columnist, Mitch Albom, and his sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz. The two form a close bond in university, but lose touch after Mitch graduates. After Mitch (played by Jeffrey Wetsch) happens to see Morrie (played by Ian Downie) on television, he decides to to visit his old professor after 16 years. He discovers that Morrie, now in his late seventies, is battling ALS, to which there is no cure. With limited time left, Mitch resolves to spend each Tuesday with Morrie contemplating life, love, and death.

This show was definitely different from others I’ve seen at the Playhouse: it wasn’t a musical, there were no flashy sound effects, no intermission, or impressive sets…but I still enjoyed it because of the raw emotions expressed between Mitch and Morrie. While the subject matter was sad at times (those tissues came in handy!), there was also lots of opportunities to laugh with Morrie’s feisty wisecracks. I think we often take life for granted, so this play was a great reminder of the importance of embracing life while you can. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, as you have to see the play to truly understand the strong connection between the two characters.

Tuesdays with Morrie is very simple play featuring only a two-man cast with very a basic set and props. The simplicity made it easier to focus on the heart-warming interaction between Mitch and Morrie. Playhouse II was the perfect setting for this play, as it is smaller and more intimate than the main auditorium. Both actors would often speak to the audience, which made it easier to get absorbed into the story, and at times I almost forgot there was an audience beside me!

IMG_3353Opening night featured a reception afterwards, including a beautifully decorated cake. We realized after the play that Morrie was a familiar face. You may have recognized him as one of the grumpy old men featured on the TD Canada Trust commercials!

This touching and uplifting play is great for all ages and is one of my favourites from the Playhouse. I have also added the book to my summer reading list!

You can watch a 5 minute clip of the play on Drayton Entertainment’s YouTube channel. You can also find a great review on Huron News Now. Tuesdays with Morrie plays until July 13th.

Tickets: Call the Box Office at 519-238-6000 or buy online at www.draytonentertainment.comTickets range between $20-$40.

Playhouse II is located at the Huron Country Playhouse at 70689 B Line, Grand Bend.