Bedtime Stories is quickly becoming a favourite amongst theatre companies across Canada and it’s easy to see why. It’s quirky piece of fun Canadiana with over-the-top characters, simple set requirements, splashy costumes and tons of laughs. For the University Players, it’s a great way to end the 58th season.
When you watch six young adult actors take on all 15 characters in this show of varying ages and personalities, it’s hard to remember these actors are only beginning their careers.
It takes incredible talent to switch from one character to another, but with fun costumes from designer Agatha Knelsen, it actually appeared as if there were 15 different people on stage.
Director Gordon McCall seems to get the absolute best out of everyone here, including a few standout performances from Jack Doupe-Smith as sensitive shock rocker Tommy Quick, and Eden Broda as the accident-prone exotic dancer Sandy. Diana Ruffolo was also fun to watch as the relentless Melody Ballantyne, who found her way into Tommy’s hotel room so she could have a fling with the rocker.
Bedtime Stories opens with a radio disc jockey (played by Keifer MacDonald) who’s desperate to hit the big time. He offers a friendly couple $5,000 to have sex over the airwaves with him describing the action in a play-by-play style. In the end, he couldn’t go through with his scheme, but the couple remain in the hotel room and unknown to them, a bedside recorder is left on and their frolics for the next few hours are played over the radio. David Prokupek and Meghan de Chastelain were quite fun to watch as Lou and Betsy Ballantyne, the nerdy couple willing to do the nasty on the radio.
The scenes all take place in a bedroom that gets visually tweaked each time a new story takes place and there are a number of recurring themes that pass through the entire play.
Playwright Norm Foster injects little bits of Canadian humour and talk of Canadian cities, intertwined with intimate stories that focus on relationships and how men and women interact. It’s a barrel of Canadian fun with a couple moments to ponder thrown in for good measure.
Bedtime Stories runs until April 9 at Essex Hall Theatre. Tickets are available at web2.uwindsor.ca