Review – The Cemetery Club

By Rod Urquhart

Some really outstanding, quite believable acting highlights the current presentation of Ivan Menchell’s heart-warming, yet hilariously funny, ‘The Cemetery Club’, currently on stage at the Newmarket Legion.

What happens when three widows, who visit their passed husbands at a cemetery on a monthly basis meet up with the local butcher, who is visiting with his deceased wife? Really, you never know when you are going to meet someone new in life!

All the actors are seasoned veterans of the stage, handled with precision by veteran director Teri Hallat in this presentation with special arrangement with Samuel French. It continues at Stage 426, Newmarket Legion, Dec. 6, 7, and 8 all at 8 p.m. The 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 6 is already sold out for this popular comedy …. So get your tickets soon!

Outstanding is Marlo Alcock as Ida, fresh from her stunning triumph as Tayna in ‘Momma Mia’. Adding much hilarity with flair is veteran Susan Lane as the flamboyant Lucille. You may remember Susan who also had the spirited role as Margot in ‘The Ladies Foursome’, also by the Newmarket Stage Company. Rounding out the threesome is Denise Kennedy as the dedicated Doris. Denise is great as the serious one of the bunch. You may remember her from NSC’s presentation of ‘The Last Romance’ as the family-prone Rose.

The lone male interest, which tends to become a major disruption, is played with much enthusiasm by another theatre veteran, Jeff Burke, with many years of stage work behind him, both on-stage and off-stage, as Sam the butcher. Zara Stuart-Jones rounds out the cast as somewhat of a female interest for the butcher and Zara does the job quite effectively.

Another theatre veteran, Sue Meacock, is back once again as producer of this fine comedy and deserves a salute for pulling it all together. As mentioned the Director is Teri Hallatt, who after opening night called the performance a “Tour de Force!”

The set by Peter Salt and props by Carol Dowell is quite intricate and a tip of the hat to both of them. The action takes place in Ida’s living room and at the cemetery, so as you can imagine Peter and Carol had some obstacles to devise this special set.

Lights and sound are by Patrick Monks, Victor Pierrynowski and Max Duvall – the great costumes are by Fran Wachna and Jackie Diasio. Susan Lane and Noreen Aldridge handle Box Office and Karin Schrewe and volunteers Front of House.

Next up for the ambitious Newmarket Stage Company is ‘Murder at Howard Johnson’s’ Feb. 21 to March 2. Featuring comfortable cabaret seating, tickets for the ongoing ‘The Cemetery Club’ are a mere $15 for some excellent community Theatre. Call the Box Office today at 289-500-2114. The Newmarket Legion is at 707 Srigley Street with lots of parking. Check out the NSC’s updated website at: for more information.

Review – The Ladies Foursome

Review of ‘The Ladies Foursome’ – put online by The Era

Burke shows a ‘gifted hand’
directing ‘Ladies Foursome’

By Rod Urquhart
The venerable Newmarket Stage Company’s presentation of ‘The Ladies Foursome’ opened last Thursday night with quite the flourish at Stage 426 Newmarket Legion and definitely scored a ‘hole in one!’

With a gifted hand, seasoned director Jeff Burke guided some spirited acting from Joanna Kaufman as Dory, Susan Lane as Margo, Jo-Anne Pulfer as Tate and Julie Wood as Connie. As the play unfolds, with much interaction between the four of them, no one actor was a standout with all four shining brightly in their own right.

Taking place on an actual golf course, playing a round of 18 holes, after the death of their fourth, three women take to the golf course to honour her and are joined by a woman they’ve never met. Friendships tested and friendships found, this is one round of golf that you won’t want to miss!

‘The Ladies Foursome ‘ is scripted by Canada’s most produced playwright Norm Foster, and produced by seasoned veteran Sue Meacock. The rather simple yet very effective set is by Peter Salt, with a grand lighting design by Mark Hayward and lights and sound by Sara and Nicole Hayward. Fran Wachna handles the costumes quite nicely.

Act one takes place in the morning on the golf course and the sensational Act Two happens for another nine holes later in the morning. With fast-moving dialogue and lots of humour, sometimes ribald, the women share a colourful round of golf, complete with carrying their golf clubs.

At Opening Night, the appreciative audience clapped after each hole of golf and gave the competent actors a good five minute ovation to show how much they enjoyed this wonderful presentation.
If you ever wondered just what women talk about the golf course, and the revelations that come out of it, ‘The Ladies Foursome’ has it all — even with a dramatic conclusion, but I won’t spoil it for you!

This was only the second time ‘The Ladies Foursome’ has been presented by a community theatre group since it was released for their use last year and the Newmarket Stage Company, even with the limitations of a small Legion stage, do Norm Foster quite proud with a hearty rendition of this fast-paced play, complete with actual golf clubs and swinging of the clubs!

‘The Ladies Foursome’ continues today (May 3) at 2 p.m. and also tonight, May 4 and May 5 at 8 p.m. at the Newmarket Legion, 707 Srigley Street. Tickets are a mere $15 and available at the Box Office at 905-727-3290.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, one would be hard-pressed to find a better gift than to offer to take her to see this uplifting, yet extremely humourous presentation!

Rod Urquhart is author of two humour books – ‘Talk Turkey With Urqey’ and ‘Tales for the Outhouse’ and also a poetry book, entitled ‘Life Lines’. All three are available at the Georgina Art Centre & Gallery and Turn The Page Bookstore, both in Sutton.

Review – Last of the Red Hot Lovers

Review of ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’
JC Paquet is ‘brilliant’ as Barney!

By Rod Urquhart (As appeared in The Newmarket Era)
JC Paquet, fresh off the stage from Ace Galaksi – Space Dick at Large in October, is back with a simply brilliant performance in ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’, now on Stage 426 at the Royal Canadian Legion.

If that isn’t enough, the flamboyant JC is joined by three seasoned veterans of community theatre in this raucous production of the Neil Simon Classic, and a guaranteed top-notch performance unheard of today in community theatre!

A tip of the hat goes to director Teri Hallatt, who skillfully managed to get the cast to actually do some really nifty acting – as opposed to just ‘walking through their part’ – to give the audience more than one or two, or even a dozen, laughs – this is a rib-tickler!

JC Paquet is Barney, a 47-year-old who ponders the idea of having an affair after more than a quarter century of marriage to his faithful wife. So he invites three women, all separately of course, to his mother’s apartment for some extra-curricular activity.

But Barney is new to this sort of fling and the women he invites in this play set in the late ‘60s at the end of the sexual revolution, are all so completely different, the perplexed Barney has his definite troubles cohorting with these women!

First up on stage is Laurie Williams as Elaine, who did a wonderful job as Gus in ‘Cookin’ With Gus’ last year with the Newmarket Stage Company, as the over-eager sex-craved married woman. Of course, Barney is new at this sort of thing, so it simply leads to hilarity.

Then in the second Act, next up is Cheidre Kyle Mackey, as Bobbi. She really does a great job as a space cadet wanna-be actress and night club singer with little more than air bubbles in her head. This sets the tone of the second Act, as Barney and her get into a strange, but very funny, dialogue.

Finally, it’s his long-time friend Erin Wrightson, as Jeannette, who wonders out loud about the morals of society and the right and wrong of having an affair. All three of these women are perfectly cast, as is JC, that you actually believe what they are putting on stage — again, my hat off to director Teri Hallatt for all her hard work.

With the limitations of Stage 426 at the Newmarket Legion, it’s really a wonder the Newmarket Stage Company and set designers Peter Salt and Victor Pierrynowski could come up with such a ‘perfect’ set for this hilarity to take place. Kudos to these two.

Lighting and sound were on cue all night, so a tip of the cap to Sara and Nicole Hayward, and lighting designer Mark Hayward, spot-on costumes for the late 1960s by Fran Wachna and hair by the multi-talented Laurie Williams. Co-produced with enthusiasm by Diane Ament and Sue Meacock, by special arrangement with Samuel French.

Really, if you are looking for a fun night out, check out ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’, being put on by the Newmarket Stage Company and continuing Feb. 2, 3, and 8, 9, and 10 all at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on the Thursday, all at Stage 426, the Newmarket Legion. Phone 905-727-3290 for tickets.

As an aside, auditions will soon be held by the ambitious Newmarket Stage Company’s production of Norm Foster’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’, which will run next April and May. Four women are needed for this production – if you are interested, call 905-895-2075.

Rod Urquhart is author of two humour books – ‘Talk Turkey With Urqey’ and ‘Tales for the Outhouse’ and also a poetry book, entitled ‘Life Lines’. All three are available at the Georgina Art Centre & Gallery and Turn The Page Bookstore, both in Sutton.

Review – The Last Romance

Review of ‘The Last Romance’

By Rod Urquhart
What happens when you get old? And what if you are alone and your wife of some 40 years has passed away?

And what if you are a widow? Or what if your husband is either gone or just a vegetable after so many, many years of marriage?

Would a chance meeting of these two – Carol, portrayed with enthusiasm by newcomer Fran Wachna and Ralph, played brilliantly by John Sellens – took place in a Dog Park and romance actually occurred?

That’s the premise of ‘The Last Romance’ by playwright Joe DiPietro by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Services Inc., of New York, and what a delight it was. Put on by the ambitious
Newmarket Stage Company at the Royal Canadian Legion (426) in Newmarket Thursday afternoon, it’s a romantic comedy with a twist. And it’s a very well-written script.

But I digress, I must mentioned that Ralph lives with his well-meaning sister Rose, played by Denise Kennedy who really displayed some fine acting. She cares deeply about her brother, cooks all his meals, cleans and does his laundry and basically takes care of him.

Yes, there are some ‘heavy’ scenes between Carol and Ralph, but the dramatic scenes by Rose are most touching.

All in all, The Last Romance is a heart-warming romantic comedy about growing old and all that that means. It continues Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14, show time 8 p.m. (For tickets call 905-727-3290).

The Last Romance is produced by the gregarious Sue Meacock and directed by the talented Kay Valentine. The Newmarket Stage Company will present ‘The Last of the Red Hot Lovers’ by Neil Simon next February and ‘The Ladies’ Foursome’ by Norm Foster next April and May.

Rod Urquhart is author of two humour books – ‘Talk Turkey With Urqey’ and ‘Tales for the Outhouse’ and also a poetry book, entitled ‘Life Lines’. All three are available at the Georgina Art Centre & Gallery and Turn The Page Bookstore, both in Sutton.