MELANIE MINTY: Joy ride for ‘Becky’ at Surrey Little Theatre

SURREY — Are you stuck in the middle? Middle age, middle management, middle class – just a routine that shows no promise of change, no excitement. Surrey Little Theatre’s next production, Becky’s New Car, is a delightful original comedy (with serious overtones) of what could happen if by chance an escape from "the middle" comes along.

Becky’s New Car isn’t about a new car. Becky (played brilliantly by Robyn Bradley – I know, I have seen some of the rehearsals) works for a car dealership. Fate steps in one night and offers up a chance at a new life for Becky. The audience helps Becky with her choices, and with other chores, like collating reports. So, just a warning: If you don’t want to participate, don’t sit in the front rows – although, really, this is part of the fun of live theatre.

Marko Hohlbein directs this technically challenging play. The more than 80 lighting cues and 20-something sound cues must operate seamlessly to keep the pace of the play vibrant and Becky frantically moving from one scene to another without benefit of blackouts or costume change. This play needs a strong director, and Hohlbein has the skills. He also selected an excellent cast consisting of Bradley, Terry Thomas, Phillip J. Hale, Ken Boyd, Laura Luongo, Harry Pering and Cindy Peterson Good.

Becky’s New Car runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 22 at Surrey Little Theatre (7027 184th St.) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. Tickets are only $15 – book now. Phone reservations are taken at 604-576-8451 and by email, reservations@surreylittletheatre.com. What if you follow the road not taken just once? Becky does it for you.

The Foursome (the SLT season-opener last fall) and now Becky’s New Car should be familiar to Surrey audiences, as they have been recently performed at Surrey Arts Centre as part of Arts Club Theatre on tour. It is very brave for a community theatre club to mount a production that has seen great success from a professional company. I can’t compare community (amateur) actors to professionals – you will get a different result, not necessarily better, or worse, just different. We are fortunate out here in Surrey to have both. Enjoy.

Vancouver’s Arts Club company has been coming out to Surrey Arts Centre for quite a few years now. The popularity of their "on tour" series is on the increase. Driving Miss Daisy is the second of its touring productions for this season, and it runs on the main stage at the Bear Creek Park venue until Jan. 25. This is one of the most remarkable plays ever written, and won not only a Pulitzer Prize for playwright Alfred Uhry but also an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay and Best Picture, along with a Tony award on Broadway. It was the first play Uhry wrote. Not bad.

Jessie Award-winning actress Nicola Lipman will win your heart and soul as the feisty Miss Daisy. John Campbell is the chauffeur, and Brian Linds is Miss Daisy’s son. Tickets are $29 to $43, including all fees. Student Rush tickets ($15) are subject to availability 30 minutes before curtain. Tickets at 604-501-5566 or tickets.surrey.ca.

Well, there is the one obvious difference between community theatre and the professionals – ticket price. It’s amazing that actors want to be paid for their work. Even more amazing is that we have a serious supply of actors willing to work only for audience applause.

There’s more community theatre across the river in New Westminster. White Rockbased actor Keaton Mazurek takes the stage at the Bernie Legge Theatre in Lawrence Roman’s domestic comedy, Alone Together. This is Keaton’s first production with Vagabond Players, but he has previously performed with Stage 43 and White Rock Players. His roles have included Rick in Woman in Mind, Brian B. in The Good Game, Christopher Ross in Who Walks in the Dark and John in The Lion in Winter. These plays all won community theatre awards. Could it be because of Keaton? Alone Together is a warm, witty comedy fit for every middle-aged couple that has raised a family and the kids have left home – but return. Directed by Dale Kelly, the play stars two other performers who are well known to Vagabond audiences: Ross Friesen, last seen on the Bernie Legge stage as Maxim de Winter in Rebecca, and Ryan J. Johnson, who made a great hit last season in Fawlty Towers. Alone Together runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 22. For show info, call 604-521-0412 or book by email, reservations@vagabondplayers.ca.

melminty@telus.net

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