With an unforgettable ensemble cast of some of Taber’s best and brightest actors and actresses — “Father of the Bride” is indeed a chance to travel back in time, to a period worth laughing about. Opening night of the fall production was last Thursday at Taber Legion Hall.
The latest production features Mark Harding as the title character, Stanley Banks, with Kaela Lee as Kay Banks in the Diamond Cast production of the show. The show has two running casts on different evenings. Ann Bernhardt is featured as the mom, Ellie Banks. The show’s husband-to-be, Buckley Dunstan, is played by Jeremy Cooper. Kay’s goofy but likable siblings are played by Andrew Harding (Tommy) and Brandon O’Brien (Ben).
“It’s a story of a dad whose only daughter is being married off,” said Diane Llewelyn-Jones, producer of the show.
“The dad is exposed to the world of women and getting married. Of course, all of the financial drain that that is for every little thing that comes along and it makes for some good comedy,” she added.
Legendary actor Spencer Tracy starred as the father in the 1950 version of the film and Steve Martin took on the role of dear old dad in the movie remake in 1991. The behind-the-scenes crew decided to set this version of “Father of the Bride” in the 1970s. The current production is directed by Lee Ann Anderson, who previously directed “Little Women” last year. This year’s live fall theatre presentation has a cast of over 15 local community members.
Kay, the bride-elect of Buckley, wants a “simple wedding, but beautiful,” as the Banks family tries to attempt the impossible — to plan and organize a wedding, complete with all the trials and tribulations associated with the, at times, almost tortuous task.
Mr. Banks, who is a sarcastic frugal grumpy old man cares deeply for his one and only daughter (who he often called “kitten”), who is about to leave the nest, so to speak, into the arms of another man. Mr. Banks eloquently stated his future son, his daughter’s suitor, is a “goon with a pair of shoulders.” Stanley simply dreads his daughter getting married and all the events leading up to the actual marriage.
Mr. Banks had many a comedic moment, such as when he tried on his old tuxedo to find it to be quite snug. At one point, Mrs. Pulitski (the Seamstress, played by Jocelyn Steinborn) comments, “Too many strudels,” as the audience laughed aloud. He also secretly offered the happy couple $2,000 to elope, rather than going ahead with the extravagance of an over-the-top wedding.
On opening night there were just a few empty seats with 50 plus in attendance. Not bad, since the play had to compete with the Pheasant Festival Banquet held the same night. But of course, play-goers would have been a different demographic.
The setting of the play is Fairview Manor in Virginia during the 1970s with plenty of 1970s flair, fashion and music and a soundtrack and wardrobe straight out of the TV hit “That 70s Show.” The three-act play also had nostalgic seventies slang thrown in such as “Let’s scram” and “You dig it?,” plus traditional wedding gifts included a fondue set, a percolator coffee pot and a plethora of glass grapes (a huge pop culture phenomenon at the time). Tommy, always a jokester, commented to the family about the overabundance of glass grapes as gifts, he said, “You can open up your own vineyard,” to the delight of the crowd. There were also many funny 1970s-related jokes and references throughout the play.
One of the aspects of the play that stood out were the props, costumes and decor from over 30 years ago. From macramé plant hangers and owl wall ornaments to a wooden spoon and fork adorning the walls to an archaic sweet-sounding (and sadly missed) typewriter. All in good fun.
Tonight auditions are being held at Taber Legion Hall for the spring production of “Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None” from 7 to 9 p.m. The upcoming production will run in March 2014. For more information contact the director of the play Darrell Croft at 403-223-4817. Volunteers are also needed for upcoming productions from cast members to stage crew.
The Arts Council of Taber for the Performing Arts is also presenting its 2nd Annual Gala Evening Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Taber Community Centre. The event will feature dinner and a cash bar, a top-class variety show, a raffle and a silent auction. Early bird tickets are available for $45 per ticket until Nov. 16 and $55 per ticket until Nov. 26. Tables of eight can also be booked in advance. Tickets are available to purchase at FotoSource in Taber, Fisher’s Pharmacy in Vauxhall or call Ray Sheen at 403-223-0774.
Past Taber Players productions have included “Steel Magnolias,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Mousetrap,” “Odd Couple,” “Nunsense,” “Harvey,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and “The Foreigner.”
Taber Players presents “Father of the Bride” at Taber Legion Hall. The show runs Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and Nov. 7-9. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. Doors open at 2 p.m. Pre-matinee Bridal Shower is from 1-2 p.m. and is $5 a person. Tickets for the show are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children under 18 years of age. Tickets available at Steppin’ Up Ladies Shoes.