The Bride a quick farce of the highest order

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Lucy is just a girl who can’t say “no”. Because of that kind approach, she finds herself engaged with three soldiers as they go abroad to fight in World War II.

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Know before you sit down at the Citadel that the three will get home, in one piece and on Lucy’s doorstep, at about the same time.

Yes and twice yes.

So goes the arrangement for The Bride, on stage in the Shoctor theater until November 28th. Written by local playwright Holly Lewis and directed by Daryl Cloran, The Bride nailed the conventions and structure of the classic farce. Reminiscent of the 1940s – a simpler time full of red and white metal kitchens and braided fabric rugs – the show is fast-paced, fun and, at best, completely ridiculous.

The bride stars Helen Belay as the shrewd Lucy. Blessed with liquid brown eyes as large as saucers, Belay uses a talent for couch climbing to great effect as she staggers from one disaster-ingrained-in-agreement to another. Her hesitant nature is a source of constant frustration to Sister Rosa (the comically rubber-faced Patricia Cerra). Rose is a modern woman who worked in a factory until she was fired to make way for returning soldiers. Pleasant and impertinent, Rosa tries to rule in the chaos and show Lucy a better way.

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Meanwhile, a sad hostess threatens. Mrs. Crotch (Lora Brovold) wants the rent money (which Lucy naturally donated to a charity) and she wants it now. Oh, and she also threatens to evict Rose and Lucy because the apartment building is supposed to be reserved for women with husbands. You would think this would be ideal, as Lucy is ready to have three of them. If only she could persuade just one to marry her – the one with the ring that is alternately fixed on a finger or spins madly around the floor – before Mrs. Crotch becomes wise to the ruse.

The tension of tension around the accomplishment of several impossible tasks is at the heart of a farce. In the first act of The Bride, it was not clear that all the moving parts would come together well or quickly enough to push the laughter directly over the edge; there was clumsiness when characters hid telegrams, worried about vacuum cleaners and rioted about sweets. However, a fresh turn when the curtain fell before the break gave hope that the wave rail was creaking to its apex and was ready to scream down the other side. (I saw the show on the fourth night of previews, so smoother transitions might be in the beginning.)

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Several cast members in The Bride were simply great. Lora Brovold’s Mrs. Crotch – she’s kind of shark-like and thoughtless at the same time – has all the best lines, and she delivers them with Joan Crawford’s menopausal fatigue (complete with the giant sausage balls and beaver-tailed hair holding her back. Pieces together). Congratulations to costume designer Leona Brausen for the inspiring use of pants for this production.

Farren Timothy as the sweetly hopeful groom Manny couldn’t have been more perfect when he came out of the bathroom wearing just a tiny towel to brag about his eight-minute showers. Sheldon Elter (triumphant in his third stellar appearance from Citadel this fall) appears a joking bully until it becomes apparent that he is the only boyfriend with clearly cool feet. His desire to influence a full military withdrawal drives several acts of ridicule.

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There is juggling with a cake, a case of erroneous identity complete with a French accent, and a canine brawl between competitors. Overall, The Bride is a good choice for audiences who want to avoid a pandemic that occurs in the midst of a climate crisis. As the world goes from one ridiculous scenario to another, there is comfort – not to mention belly laughter – in comic madness.

Although this race is the first time The Bride (who won the Noviciate Award from the Alberta Playwright Competition in 2021) has enjoyed professional production, I hope it’s not the last. As long as there is a planet inhabited by a race of confused beings, we need characters like Lucy and Rose, whose beautifully balanced yin and yang produce a sum greater than its parts.

“Sometimes you have to say no to say yes,” exclaims Lucy at the end of the show. It is a flexible piece of folk wisdom that beautifully roots this production.

For tickets and more information, including details on the Citadel’s COVID-19 protocols, go to citadeltheatre.com.

yegarts@postmedia.com

REVIEW

The Bride

Where The Citadel, 9828 101A Ave.

When November 6-28

Tickets Starting at $ 30 from the online box office, or by calling 780-425-1820.

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