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Review: CAT’s supernatural comedy Soul Mate casts a magic spell

Actors provide some fiendish fun at dinner theatre that opened Friday at the Black Knight Inn
Richie Jackson playing Owen Ward looks on as Jason Steele playing Phillip Battersea and Tori Grebinski playing Moira Bedlam rehearse a scene from the Central Alberta Theatre production of Soulmate written by David Belke and directed by Albertus Koett.(Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Moira Bedlam declares she’s seen the pyramids, but was bored silly by the Sphinx.

Not to be out-done in jaded banter, her dinner partner Philip Battersea calls sincerity over-rated; “the last resort of the unimaginative …”

The well-heeled pair prattle on in haughty, high-brow style, as if they are Nick and Nora Charles from those madcap Thin Man films of the 1940s, when in fact, they aren’t human at all.

The two are meddlesome demons in Central Alberta Theatre’s latest offering, Soul Mate, and are portrayed with fiendish fun by local actors Tori Grebinski (Moira), and Jason Steele (Philip) in the dinner theatre production that opened Friday at Red Deer’s Black Knight Inn.

The entertaining play, written by Edmonton’s David Belke and directed by Albertus Koett, shows what happens when two supernatural super-egos dirty their hands dallying in mortal affairs.

It also shows how delightful an evening of theatre can be when the cast sets the right tone for a high-spirited comedy.

The diabolical plot revolves around a simple premise: Weary of aimless eternity, Moira and Philip decide to play “The Game” — in other words, they try convincing a hapless human to sell his soul to get his dearest desire.

Their victim is Owen Ward, a shy, nerd-ish guy who collects action figures while secretly obsessing over the flesh-and-blood woman of his dreams, Kayley Charters.

It’s obvious that straight-talking restaurant manager, Kayley, tersely portrayed by Tara Rorke, has no intention of playing Padmé Amidala to Owen’s Anakin Skywalker.

When we first see the two, Kayley is firing Owen, a waiter (played with clueless charm by Richard Jackson), right in front of some key customers.

Will Owen risk eternal damnation to win this sour lady’s love? You’ll have to see Soul Mate to find out.

Koett does a great job of casting this quartet of talented community actors, and he keeps the action rolling along briskly. But his innovation of letting the first scene unfold in the audience would have worked better if the actors were mic-ed and a spotlight could have followed the action.

This didn’t greatly impede this otherwise terrific show, however — so grab your soul mate (work mate/helpmate/chum) and check out Soul Mate. It continues to Feb. 11.

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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