Humour Runs in the Family at Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend

Ben Skipper and Rob McClure in It Runs in the FamilyThis summer, visitors to the Huron Country Playhouse will receive a prescription for non-stop laughter with the infectiously funny farce It Runs in the Family, on stage July 20 to August 6.

“This show has everything – mistaken identities, double entendres, startling revelations, and most of all, non-stop laughs,” says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment. “Laughter is something that has been sorely missed throughout the pandemic, and we all need it now more than ever.”

Farcical comedies remain popular for their innate ability to offer an escape from the everyday. Penned by master playwright Ray Cooney, It Runs in the Family is widely considered the world’s funniest farce, and is certain to leave audiences completely entertained from start to finish.

Neurologists from around the world are gathering at St. Andrews Hospital to hear Dr. Mortimore deliver the prestigious Ponsonby Lecture, but his shady past is catching up with him at the most inopportune time. It seems that Dr. Mortimore had a brief liaison with nurse Jane Tate many years ago – resulting in an enraged, illegitimate son who appears on the scene looking for the father he never knew.

Desperate to protect his reputation and keep his lusty libido hidden from his wife, Dr. Mortimore enlists the help of his colleague, the unassuming Dr. Hubert Bonney. Unfortunately, the dynamic duo only succeeds in spinning a web of mayhem and madness that gets worse by the minute.

Little white lies soon grow into gigantic whoppers, and more and more characters get helplessly tangled in the series of ludicrously improbable events. The story is structured like a house of cards, as it builds up with one frantic situation after another, but ultimately, it’s the audience that collapses – with laughter.

The production is directed by Mustakas, who has directed over 100 productions for Drayton Entertainment and other theatre companies across Canada, including the world premiere of
Marathon of Hope: The Musical, Spamalot, Les Misérables, 9 To 5: The Musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (and the North American Tour), and many other shows. Mustakas is joined by Set Designer David Antscherl, Costume Designer Jessica Pembleton, Lighting Designer Jeff JohnstonCollins, Stage Manager Paul Pembleton and Assistant Stage
Manager Frances Johnson.

Two extremely talented veteran actors anchor the production. Rob McClure plays Dr. David
Mortimore, the pretentious neurologist, and Eddie Glen brings his impeccable comedic timing and delivery to the role of Dr. Hubert Bonney, the best friend who unintentionally gets caught in the web of deceit. McClure has been appeared in Miracle Worker, Harvest, The Odd Couple, Deathtrap, How The Other Half Loves for Drayton Entertainment. Elsewhere, he has appeared at the Stratford Festival and The Second City.

Glen has appeared in Drayton Entertainment productions including Spamalot, The 39 Steps, Grease, and Les Misérables. He has also performed in numerous shows in London’s West End, in the annual Ross Petty Panto, and for the past 20 years has been the voice of YTV.

Keith Savage plays Bill, a near-senile patient in a wheelchair who periodically meanders into the maze of mayhem. Savage is a recognizable face, appearing in many Drayton Entertainment productions over the years including The Little Mermaid, Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, The Music Man, Boeing Boeing, How The Other Half Loves, Twelve Angry Men, Damn Yankees, and numerous pantos for Drayton Entertainment. Savage also appeared on the US National Tours of Showboat and Crazy For You.

Patricia Vanstone, makes her Drayton Entertainment debut as the cool, calm and collected
Rosemary Mortimore. Patricia is the Founding Artistic Director of The Foster Festival, and has acted or directed in productions across Canada and internationally. Patricia also appeared on four seasons of Road to Avonlea (Sullivan Films).

Amanda Leigh is Dr. Mortimore’s former fling, Nurse Jane Tate, and Ben Skipper is her troubled son, Leslie Tate. Leigh has appeared in previous Drayton Entertainment productions including Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, Man of La Mancha, Sister Act, and Anne of Green Gables, and has also appeared in Les Misérables in London, England. Skipper has previously appeared in Drayton Entertainment’s Peter Pan: The Panto, and Forever Plaid for Starvox Entertainment.

Aaron Walpole is tasked with ascertaining fact from fiction as the regimented Police Sergeant. Walpole has appeared for Drayton Entertainment in Rocky: The Musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, Rock of Ages, Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto, and Sleeping Beauty: The Panto to name a few. Walpole has also appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables and Jesus Christ Superstar, and productions at the Stratford Festival.

Patrick R. Brown, a veteran of numerous Drayton Entertainment productions, including the 2017 farce The 39 Steps, tackles the role of Sir Willoughby Drake, the big boss frustrated by the continual insubordination of his staff. Brown has also appeared in Kinky Boots, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Elsewhere, he has appeared on Broadway as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King and Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin, and spent seven seasons at the Shaw Festival.

The top-notch cast also includes Teddy Moynihan as Dr. Mike Connolly, Mary Kelly as Matron, and Laurel Brown as Mother/Sister. Moynihan makes his Drayton Entertainment debut, and has appeared elsewhere in Mamma Mia at The Grand Theatre, Sondheim’s 85th Birthday Celebrations in London’s West End, and VWars for Netflix. Kelly was previously seen at Drayton Entertainment in Damn Yankees and Man of La Mancha. She also appeared as a Jazzagal in 5 Seasons of the CBC hit comedy Schitt’s Creek. Brown makes her Drayton Entertainment debut and has produced and directed 61 productions over 18 years as the Artistic Director of Acting Out, a Musical Theatre Experience for youth in Stratford.

It Runs in the Family is on stage from July 20 to August 6 at the Huron Country Playhouse.
Tickets range from $32-53 and can be purchased at any Drayton Entertainment Box Office, by calling the Box Office at 519-238-6000 or toll free at 1-855-drayton (372-9866), or online at www.draytonentertainment.com.

Photo: Darlene O’Rourke
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