Michael Sutherland and Debby Allan perform a scene from ‘Comfort Cottages,’ Central Alberta Theatre’s season-opening comedy. Preview night is on Oct. 20 at Festival Hall in Red Deer. It continues to Nov. 5. (Contributed photo).

Michael Sutherland and Debby Allan perform a scene from ‘Comfort Cottages,’ Central Alberta Theatre’s season-opening comedy. Preview night is on Oct. 20 at Festival Hall in Red Deer. It continues to Nov. 5. (Contributed photo).

CAT’s season opening comedy, ‘Comfort Cottages’ opens next week at Festival Hall

It’s described as ‘Golden Girls’ in a bordello

As a fan of the TV show Golden Girls, Suzanne Hermary immediately saw riotous shades of Bea Arthur’s caustic character in the script for Comfort Cottages.

“There will be plenty of Dorothy Zbornak moments,” promised Hermary, who’s directing this comedy, described as “Golden Girls in a bordello.”

Comfort Cottages, written by Canadians Jane Clayton and Judy Ginn Walchuk, is Central Alberta Theatre’s season opener, with a preview night on Thursday, Oct. 20, at Festival Hall in Red Deer. It continues until Nov. 5, with some theatre-only nights and also buffet dinner presentations.

The plot revolves around Katherine, a retired private school vice-principal, who inherits a property from an aunt she only met once. Katherine is mortified to lean that her aunt’s roadside motel with the perpetual ‘No Vacancy’ sign was actually used as a house of ill repute for four decades.

The irony, said Hermary, is that reputation means everything to Katherine. Yet, as a condition of the will, she needs to live in the motel for a year to inherit it — and then potentially rake in big profits from a development company looking to buy the land the motel sits on.

Freaked out by the situation, prim and proper Katherine recruits her three best friends to move into the motel with her — and this foursome begin the awkward task of notifying drop-in clients that the brothel is now closed.

CAT is only the second theatre company to tackle this comedy. When it was premiered in 2016 by the Western Gold Theatre — a Vancouver troupe specializing in plays for senior actors — Comfort Cottages was described as having “heart” and tender moments, as well as laughs.

Hermany’s cast of nine actors are all over the age of 55. But the play’s theme, about the importance of connections, applies to all ages.

“It’s an especially important since the pandemic,” when many people discovered through lockdowns and quarantines the difficulties of living in isolation, said Hermary.

She praised her cast and crew for being “super-committed and willing to step-up to do whatever needs to happen to make this show a success.”

For more information about performance dates and tickets, please visit centralalbertatheatrereddeer.com.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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