By Geraldine Guilfoyle
Published: March. 31, 2012
Funny and poignant, The Cemetery Club opened to an appreciative audience at the Eagle Eye Theatre, on March 22. The play written by Ivan Menchell is set in the 1980’s in Queens, New York where three widowed old friends, meet regularly at their husband’s graves.
Lucille (played by Kathy Daniels) fancies herself as a flamboyant swinger. Doris (played by Karla Fuhre) maintains a traditional widowhood, dedicating herself to the memory of her late husband, while Ida (played by Liz Gruber), is somewhere in between, uncertain, but ready to move on.
When Sam, the butcher, enters the scene and starts to take Ida out, Doris and Lucille attempt to squash the budding romance, fearing that it will threaten their tight knit little club.
This unlikely scenario is the premise of a comedy that has enjoyed great success both on Broadway and all over Canada.
Squamish’s own Between Shifts Theatre has done a terrific job in meeting the demands of a hilarious but dense and at times meandering script where dialogue and timing is everything.
The chemistry between the three main characters infused the atmosphere and the audience quickly suspended reality to give themselves over to the performance and be thoroughly entertained.
I’m basing that last statement on the laugh meter that I brought with me and on the unscientific mini poll I took at half time.
Okay, so there were some lapses from the Queen’s accent but who cares – this play was much more about our common humanity than any particular ethnic or religious subset. It spoke to our vulnerability when faced with death, and to the role of friendship, when dealing with loss and moving on.
Directed by Judi Price and co-produced by Gruber and Daniels who also played lead roles, the strong cast was rounded out by Skai Stevenson who played the affable ‘mench’ Sam and Janice Hayden who had a cameo role as the vixen, Mildred.
Special kudos to Fuhre, Gruber and Daniels who shouldered the weight of the dialogue slinging it back and forth at each other with great accuracy to resounding comedic effect.
The behind the scenes crew did a convincing job with set design and construction, proving that you don’t need a Broadway budget to put on a quality show.
Squamish really does have talent and good live theatre is a great treat and worth supporting.
Go buy a ticket at Billie’s Boutique for one of the remaining performances on March 31.