Who knew? The surf is up at Bower Ponds

Viola washes up on the beach to the electric strains of Wipe Out in Bard on Bower’s banzai version of Twelfth Night. Prime Stock Theatre’s rad rendering of Shakespeare’s comedy opened on Thursday on the outdoor stage at Bower Ponds. It comes complete with board shorts, bathing suits, beach umbrellas — and breezy Beach Boys and Surfaris tunes performed by talented local band Underside Pattern.

Viola washes up on the beach to the electric strains of Wipe Out in Bard on Bower’s banzai version of Twelfth Night.

Prime Stock Theatre’s rad rendering of Shakespeare’s comedy opened on Thursday on the outdoor stage at Bower Ponds. It comes complete with board shorts, bathing suits, beach umbrellas — and breezy Beach Boys and Surfaris tunes performed by talented local band Underside Pattern.

With colourful surfboards lining the stage, the setting has clearly moved from Illyria on the Adriatic coast to the Pacific shores of Southern California.

The Duke Orsino, played by Isiah Williams, has become the equivalent of MoonDoggie, the surfer hero of those early 1960s Gidget movies. He rushes for the waves whenever he hears “Surf’s up!” despite his lovelorn status. For when he isn’t riding the swells, Orsino is pining for unattainable rich girl Olivia.

Played with a haughty air by Danielle LaRose, Olivia is supposedly mourning the death of her brother behind a giant pair of sunglasses and fashionable wide-brimmed hat. But it’s pretty obvious she just isn’t into dating surfers — at least not surfer boy Orsino.

When a shipwrecked Viola (Erin Pettifor) arrives on the beach scene, she becomes a gender-bending Gidget. Renaming herself Cesario, she dresses as a male to accept employment from the Duke. But Viola quickly falls for Orsino, even thought she’s hired to woo Olivia on his behalf.

Things get more convoluted when Olivia inexplicably falls for Cesario (aka Viola). But it adds to the fun in this entertaining production that Pettifor, who bears a striking resemblance to a young Lucille Ball, makes absolutely no attempt to seem remotely masculine as Cesario.

The stately Olivia is throwing herself at a pale girly man dressed in wide shorts, a check shirt and poor-boy cap.

One possible reason Twelfth Night, from 1601, has stayed popular is because it contains more than its share of clowns and buffoons.

In this production, under the tongue-in-cheek direction of Thomas Usher, the priggish Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Brock Beal) uses a dinghy paddle instead of sword to ‘battle’ first Cesario, and then Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian (JP Lord).

Sir Toby Belch (Tom Bradshaw) slurs his way through scenes after imbibing too much beach-side ale, while Malvolio (Richie Jackson) is put into a straitjacket after falling for a practical joke orchestrated by Oliva’s gentlewoman Maria (Robyn Jeffrey).

In one of the funniest bits, Olivia’s jester Feste (Sarah Spicer) dresses as an evangelical preacher and speaks Shakespeare’s dialogue like someone from the Ozarks.

While it would have been nice to hear vestiges of California surfer-speak mingled into some of the other Elizabethan dialogue, that’s probably asking for too much of the cast!

While a few kinks still needed ironing out at the run-though rehearsal I attended, the actors did a great job of reinventing this classic comedy and getting the thrust of the plot line across in speeches.

The music is one of the show’s biggest assets. Underside Pattern (which performed Beatles songs at last summer’s Bard on Bower) does justice to such tunes as Surfin’ USA, Barbara Ann, California Girls and God Only Knows — which is the best soundtrack ever for a happy ending.

This easy, breezy, surfer version of Twelfth Night is about as summery as Shakespeare gets.

Admission is free but donations are appreciated. Bring a lawnchair, blanket, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

Twelfth Night will alternate performances with Bard on Bower’s King Lear, which opens on Thursday, July 23.

Twelfth Night runs at 7 p.m. on July 17, 18, 22, 26 and 30 (also at 2 p.m. on July 25 and Aug. 1).

King Lear will be staged at 7 p.m. July 23, 24, 25, 29, 31 and Aug. 1 (also at 2 p.m. on July 26 and Aug. 2).

For the first time, a beer tent will be available at the outdoor site. As well, special performances will be held by Bull Skit and Tree House Youth Theatre on July 25 and Aug. 1.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Red Deer Emergency Services responded to an explosion at a duplex on Rupert Crescent Saturday morning. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to explosion in Red Deer early Saturday morning

There was an explosion at a Red Deer duplex early Saturday morning.… Continue reading

Terry Betts, of Kananaskis, looks at the vehicle he was hoping to sell during the Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet in the Westerner Park parking lot Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet held outdoors

A big automotive swap meet was held outdoors this year in Red… Continue reading

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is set to re-open on July 2. (File Photo)
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to reopen Monday

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will reopen for visitors… Continue reading

Huzaifa (left), Saif (middle) and Zoya (right) were among the 60 or so Red Deerians who participated in a vigil for the victims of a recent terrorist attack that killed four people in London Ont. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer vigil honours victims of London, Ont. terrorist attack

About 60 people gathered at the corner of 49 Ave. and 50… Continue reading

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Multivitamins are shown on the packaging line at the Pfizer plant in Montreal, Thursday, July 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian drug companies want new pricing regs delayed again until after pandemic

OTTAWA — Almost three dozen Canadian pharmaceutical companies made a direct appeal… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — The massive $70 million dollar Lotto Max jackpot remained unclaimed… Continue reading

Most Read