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Various Veins

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My friend Tom Watson, one time minister here in what was then the three-point charge Straffordville, Vienna and Port Burwell, urges us to laugh at every opportunity. Laughing is good for the soul and for the body.

Thursday last I enjoyed a two-hour workout of my favourite medicine while seated in the back row of Theatre Tillsonburg. Seated! Can you beat exercising in that position? It's close to my favourite sport, prone rifle shooting. I don't do that any more. Too much red tape and extortion of wealth to maintain the paper work.

The play was the comedy Who's Under Where? by Marcia Kash and Doug Hughes. The crew and cast did a flawless job, as far as I could tell. If there were any slips they were handled seamlessly.

The punny title tells you lingerie provides visual humour to the randy performance. Aural humour,too, as the frantic star tries to get help from security after a burglary. The receptionist couldn't be heard but we knew there was a request to spell the word, several reps on that gag.

Whether intentional or not, Randy McGivern's costume and facial expressions were reminiscent of Ed Norton in the Honeymooners of early TV.

I had a good belly laugh at another gag that bought old scenes to mind. Dave Deelen, dressed most provocatively in lingerie, in resisting arrest told Don Fonk, "I'm not a crook. I'm a lawyer!"

Check your own memory banks for echoes of that line. Don't forget The Bible and William Shakespeare for sources.

Having named those actors I must mention the others, Jennifer Anger-Jull, Stacey Riley, Matthew Vigar, and Mark "The Original" Smith. If he hadn't let it be known this was his first role on stage, Matthew Vigar would have passed as much a veteran as the rest.

As usual, I was apprehensive about being able to understand the dialogue as I waited for the fun to begin. Being hearing disadvantaged takes much of the joy out of life. Except for the laughter that overpowered their voices, something that even those with perfect hearing can't penetrate, I could follow the lines easily. Volume, pace, enunciation were excellent.

Let's consider whether there are lessons to be learned from this comedy. My playwright friend Bill Butt would chew me out for venturing here. Plays ought not to be written with didactical intention. But I have a few lines of space to fill.

If the two enterprising wives had confided their hopes for success in the lingerie market to their husbands, they wouldn't have created suspicions that nearly destroyed their dream.

If the divorce lawyer hadn't let the mindset of his professional world make him think the worst without giving the wives a chance to explain their behaviour, if he'd listened to his buddy who urged looking for another cause, he would have escaped arrest for burglary.

He would have avoided the unwelcome advances of a randy Italian investor who was taken in by his frills and lace mannequin costume. In truth he could have taken me in by it, except for the falsetto voice.

Of course if all these factors had existed in the minds of the playwrights there would have been no play and health benefits.

And so we come to the end of the page. Get your tickets for Theatre Tillsonburg's Ding Dong Dead coming in May. (Audition information on their website, www.theatretillsonburg.com)

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