Bernice the maid (Erna Soderberg, left), meets agent Ruby Delvecchio (Roxzane Armstrong), as Hal Savage (Keith Edwards) looks on in CAT’s Self Help. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

REVIEW: CAT’s hilarious dinner theatre farce, ‘Self Help,’ is an inspiration

Norm Foster play runs to Dec. 16

A pair of second-rate actors become millionaires by spouting “Turn the nays into yays!” and other motivational malarkey in Central Alberta Theatre’s hilarious dinner theatre production of Self Help.

Since platitudes, such as “The time is now! The battlefield is life! And the soldier is you!” work so well for Hal and Cindy Savage — turning the married actors into self-help gurus in this Norm Foster farce — I’ll give it a go:

Local theatre-goers are advised to “Out the doubt!” and check out this slapstick show that opens Friday night at the Black Knight Dinner Theatre. Steady laughter resounded throughout Thursday night’s dress rehearsal.

The talented cast of CAT veterans took a chapter from the Savages’ book, which instructs “If you express, you progress!” The community actors expressed their way through Foster’s sharp script, demonstrating great comic timing and an ability to create winning characterizations.

As a result, this absurd sex-romp progressed — gaining chortles from the opening scene at a Flin Flon dinner theatre, to the conclusion in the lavish mansion the Savages bought after bluffing their way to best-selling co-author status.

Although an avalanche of money doesn’t bring the self-help gurus lasting happiness, Hal and Cindy, wonderfully played by Keith Edwards and Angel Peterson, don’t want to lose their privileged lifestyle just because a dead body turns up in their study.

The appearance of their abrasive agent, Ruby Delvecchio (Roxzane Armstrong), as well as a curious detective (Jason Lee) and a nosy reporter (Michael Sutherland) hardly helps their sticky situation. Neither does the Savages’ dim-witted Swedish maid Bernice, who’s unable to figure out the intercom system in their home — or when her presence is unwanted.

Erna Soderberg has a lot of fun playing Bernice, and also does a great job of directing this play, which CAT first staged about a decade ago.

Except for a momentary lull in pacing mid-way through the second act, the action really rolled along on Thursday evening. And Soderberg achieved the right farcical tone with over-the-top reactions, madcap mix-ups and endless sex jokes.

Hal and Cindy left the audience in stitches as they rediscovered their lust for each other at the most inopportune moments — usually between shuffling the corpse from the study to the garden and back again.

For anyone wanting silly laughs, “The time is now!” to see Self Help.

It runs to Dec. 16.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Central Alberta Theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment minister reconsidering decision to stay out of Alberta coal-mine review

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is reconsidering a decision in December… Continue reading

Lacombe athlete aims for a pro soccer career in Europe

Heidi Giles is in Denmark, trying out for AGF Kvindefodbold

Experts say Twitter breach troubling, undermines trust

HONG KONG — A breach in Twitter’s security that allowed hackers to… Continue reading

Walmart latest retailer to require customers to wear masks

NEW YORK — Walmart will require customers to wear face coverings at… Continue reading

Commons finance committee to begin probing WE Charity’s volunteering contract

OTTAWA — The first of multiple parliamentary investigations of the federal government’s… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Opinion: Worst of COVID has passed, but it’s not business as usual

We are entering the euphoria stage of the pandemic economy — surging… Continue reading

Opinion: Teachers have advice on how to safety reopen schools

With Canada Day well behind us, summer is officially underway. But even… Continue reading

Winger Liam Kay, the Wolfpack’s first-ever player signing, leaves for Wakefield

Winger Liam Kay, the Toronto Wolfpack’s leading try-scorer and first-ever signing, has… Continue reading

Canada’s Jordan Mein returns to action with Bellator later this month

LOS ANGELES — Canadian welterweight Jordan (Young Gun) Mein will make his… Continue reading

Megan Thee Stallion says she was shot, expects to recover

LOS ANGELES — Rapper Megan Thee Stallion said Wednesday that she was… Continue reading

Colville painting shatters sales record at auctions with strong bidding results

TORONTO — A painting by Alex Colville shattered a price record for… Continue reading

Bank of Canada holds rate, forecasts decline in GDP of 7.8% this year

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada will keep its key interest rate… Continue reading

Alberta escalates pay fight with doctors, asks regulatory college to intervene

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro is escalating his pay dispute… Continue reading

Most Read