Arts Club Theatre Company

Some Assembly Required

By Eugene Strickland

Directed by Janet Wright

Granville Island Stage

Dec 6th to Jan 6th

Box Office: 687-1644 or Ticket Master 280-3311

Christmas is a time for family reunions and Some Assembly Required!

By Frank C. Scott

It's Christmas Eve. Outside is a blanket of snow and freezing temperatures. Inside is a cozy typical family readying themselves for the festivities.

Dad is in the living room following his systematic record rotation, admiring barbed wire, bellowing like an elk. Mom is hiding in the bedroom suffering from 'the condition' convinced she's made of dust, wondering where things went wrong.

Gordon is barricaded in the basement drinking milkless eggnog, clutching his BB gun. Sister Stacy arrives in her pajamas, dreaming about being like her Barbie Dolls.

Brother Walter shows up because his wife chose to work. Not a decoration or Christmas tree can be seen. Yes, the perfect family is home for the holidays.

Canadian playwright Eugene Strickland wrote this comedy about dysfunctional families in a way that makes the Simpsons look like the Brady Bunch. It is hilarious and very insightful. One cannot help but relate to this family and all their problems.

In the end, Mom, Dad, and all the children, manage to pull together and celebrate Christmas in their own special way. The lesson learnt is: we are who we are, and all the baggage we collect over the years isn't so bad, and is what makes a family unique.

Veteran Canadian theatre icon Janet Wright directed this production with spit and polish. Her years in the industry clearly showed. She has directed and appeared in over 40 Arts Club productions, is a regular at Stratford, and has worked in most theatres right across this country. Her film work earned her a Genie Award for Bordertown Café, and recently she played the role of Ethel Shapford in The Perfect Storm.

Cast members, Norman Browning (Dad); Doris Chillcott (Mom); Leslie Jones (Stacy); John Murphy (Walter) and Mark Weatherley (Gordon) all brought years of comedic talent with them. Some of the funniest and most notable scenes were an elk-bellowing contest between Dad and Walter, Stacy tweaking Gordon's nipple, and Gordon cradling a chicken like a newborn baby.

Ted Roberts' rotating set was ingenious and worked beautifully for scene changes. It helped contribute to the merry-go-round circus of family life.

Overall, the Arts Club has offered up another great production for one and all to see. You should make a point of seeing it over the holiday season; in fact, drag your whole family down there for the fun of it. You never know; you might even see a bit of yourself on stage.