Opening Nite Theatre begins its 25th season with Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s uproarious, bittersweet, social comedy RolePlay.
A little bit satire, a little bit farce, this show is a hilarious reminder that marriage involves not just two people, but a whole load of outlandish and irritating relatives.
London yuppie couple Justin (Tony Loyer) and Julie-Ann (Katie Thompson) are preparing for an engagement dinner, in Justin’s Docklands flat, to meet their prospective in-laws.
Expected shortly are Julie-Ann’s bigoted and ultra-conservative parents (No sex, please, we’re from Yorkshire!) Derek (Brian Billo) and Dee (Kathy Yewell), and the delightfully soused, upper-class matriarch in Justin’s corner, Arabella (Norma Rushton), who can’t seem to tear herself away from the pub.
Already wondering if he’s marrying the right girl, but determined to make the evening a success, Justin is suddenly invaded by two desperado cockneys from upstairs. They are Paige (Tammy Chrest) – a lap-dancer gangster moll – and her gun-toting, bruiser bodyguard Micky (Jory Bice), employed to stop Paige from escaping the wrath of their infamous mobster boss, Rudy.
Micky threatens to blow Justin’s head off if he intervenes, so it looks like there’ll be two more for dinner.
Can poor Justin keep calm and carry on when the family troops arrive? Or will he make a beeline for the Underground?
Ayckbourn seems to be showing us all the hazards and fun to be had when you throw people of very different backgrounds together, hoping they’ll all behave.
RolePlay is directed by Helen Embury and Beverley Albon, with set design by Camille Atebe, costumes by Bunny Waddell and technical design by Joe Samorodin and Brad Ward.
The production contains adult language and themes.
RolePlay runs Oct. 12 to 28, Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. (Thursday, Oct. 18 and 25 are two-for-one ticket sales) at Opening Nite Theatre.
Tickets are $15 and available at openingnitetheatre.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 604-826-ONTS (6687) or at the door: 33223 Railway Ave. (across from the West Coast Express).