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Red Deer Advocate - Entertainment
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Dinner theatre back in city

Two dueling baseball coaches, a potential jewel thief and a hapless CIA agent with a penchant for self-destruction all figure into Central Alberta Theatre’s 2014-15 season.

Dinner theatre is returning to Red Deer this fall, with CAT offering three shows that come with dinners or brunches at the Quality Inn from November through April.

Those who don’t mind a meal-free theatrical experience can also attend three smaller productions slated for the Nickle Studio.

One of these opens the season: Rounding Third, a comedy about baseball as a metaphor for life, by Richard Dresser, is on at the Nickle Studio from Oct. 2 to 19.

The audience stands in for little league players when two coaches with entirely different life philosophies begin guiding the team through a tumultuous season. Through exhilarating victories, heartbreaking defeats and interminable rain-outs, the two men battle over how to lead players. Questions emerge, such as should we primarily raise our children to win? Do we shield them or toughen them up?

The first dinner theatre of the season, which goes from Nov. 6 to 29 at the Quality Inn, will be comprised of two one-act Norm Foster comedies that should deliver twice the fun: My Narrator and The Death of Me.

My Narrator is a romantic comedy with a twist. A struggling artist with bad taste in men and a bumbling but sweet loser seem hardly destined for romance until their personal narrators intervene. The Death of Me has a man bargaining with the Angel of Death for a brief reprise of life. To earn more earthly hours, the angel requires timid John to confront his formidable ex-girlfriend.

Deadly Murder, a thriller by David Foley that’s been compared to Deathtrap and Sleuth, is the second dinner theatre that runs at the Quality Inn from Jan. 15 to Feb. 7.

Nominated for a 2008 Edgar Award, Deadly Murder centres on a glamorous, successful New York jewelry designer with a weakness for handsome young men. One night, she picks up a waiter but finds there’s more to Billy than meets the eye. Before long, a game of cat-and-mouse begins, involving a mysterious jewel, crosses and double-crosses and a devastating journey to the past.

The next theatre-only play at the Nickle Studio is Wrong Turn at Lungfish, a comedy by Lowell Ganz and Garry Marshall that runs Feb. 19 to March 7. George C. Scott got rave reviews when he starred in this dramedy about a blind and bitter college professor and his meetings with a saucy, streetwise young woman who volunteers to read to him in the hospital. Their clashes of intellect and wit leave both older man and younger woman questioning their choices, values and past decisions, eventually allowing them to come to terms with the present.

Sin, Sex & the C.I.A., a farce by Michael and Susan Parker, is the last dinner theatre of the season that runs March 19 to April 19 at the Quality Inn.

When huge oil reserves are discovered in the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, a tug of war ensues between Middle Eastern and U.S. interests. When a meeting is struck between Chagos and U.S. leaders, the CIA sends in agent Luke James to secure the site. James, an eager beaver on his first assignment, manages to electrocute himself, set himself on fire and get locked in his own handcuffs. Add to this slapstick scenario an impatient ex-marine caretaker, an over-sexed neighbour and a hell-and-damnation evangelist and comic chaos should result.

The One Act Play Festival that’s slated to run June 11 to 20, 2015, at the Nickle Studio will wrap up the CAT season.

Tickets for the dinner theatres will be available for $65 plus GST at the Quality Inn from Sept. 15. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the show is at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.). Sunday brunch performances will also be available. Brunch is at 12:30 p.m. and show is at 2 (doors open at noon).

For more information, call 403-343-8800, Ext.769.

Tickets for the Nickle Studio productions will be available from the Black Knight Ticket Centre in September.

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