A Kick in the Arts: ‘It’s been a long time since I laughed so much at a play’
THE CAST of Give Yourself....A Kick in the Arts which was presented in a series of six short skits.
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
VANCOUVER – On October 22 I attended the opening night of Give Yourself....A Kick In the Arts, an Irish variety show at the PAL Theatre in Vancouver. The show was really a play on words produced by Frank Talbot and Harry Cussen – both well-known actors and producers in the Vancouver Celtic community.
There were six short skits in the first half of the programme and involved normal everyday things that were soon totally and hilariously blown out of the ordinary.
There was the skit With Friends Like You when the judge (Tom O’Sullivan) had only one parking ticket violation that day and it was going to be pretty boring, until the wife (Laurie MacKenzie) of the plaintiff (Harry Cussen), arrived into the courtroom.
She told the judge that her poor dear husband had been driving without either a license and insurance and in no time the judge had a real case and the jailer (Jacques St-Cyr) led the unfortunate plaintiff to the cells.
Hole In The Road was equally funny with the homeowner (Michael Morgan) inquiring of the city road repair man (Frank Talbot) when the hole in the road in front of his house would be repaired.
The repairman, leaning on his shovel complete in cap and wellies, told the frustrated homeowner that basically holes in the road would never be repaired and in fact, to ensure that he would always have a job repairing holes...he was going to the Holy City in Rome to pray.
Table For One was also funny. When a tired and hungry traveller sat down in a French restaurant to what he thought would be a pleasant meal, he was given so many choices from where to sit, to the wine list and dinner menu, that he became totally confused and frustrated.
Bum Sketch was about a principal at a school asking the teacher to come up with a different word for bum since he thought it was offensive. It was amazing the different words that could be used for bum. Rosy Frier Dryden, Michael Morgan, Jennifer Riach and Jacques St-Cyr, took part in this sketch.
The Fridge was about two drinking buddies (Harry Cussen and Frank Talbot), wondering if the light in the fridge really did go off after you closed the fridge door. They came to the conclusion that the only way you would know for sure would be to climb into the fridge.
After the intermission, there were song stylings by June Katz and classical guitar by Zoltan Buday, with proceeds from the concert to help Buday buy a much needed new guitar.
The second half of the programme was a one-act play called The Thirst and it was absolutely hilarious.
The scene was set in a shebeen (a pub with no license). Frank Talbot was the publican behind the bar and Michael Morgan and Tom O’Sullivan the illegal drinkers.
Tom O’Sullivan, from Cahersiveen, County Kerry, is well-known in the local Irish community. He looked very authentic in his cap and not at all out of place sitting on the bar stool with a pint.
The publican was regaling the two lads with his war tales and what it was like for a soldier leaving Ireland and landing in ‘Monte,’ and being hit with the extreme heat. Where is ‘Monte,’ the two lads asked. Montevido, they were told, both nodded unknowingly.
Then, the inevitable rap at the door...the Garda Siochana (Irish police) had arrived to shut down the operation. Harry Cussen played the policeman and looked very authentic in his uniform.
As he was writing down the illegal infractions in his book, the publican continued to relate his war experiences and the tale of the terrible heat. After taking off his cap and mopping his brow several times, the extreme heat story finally got to the Garda and he joined the lads at the bar for a drink as they all sang Danny Boy.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a play where I laughed so much. If you would like to be part of re-establishing Irish theatre in Vancouver, call Frank Talbot at (604) 633-0330 or Harry Cussen at (778) 228-2748.