The allure of Thorold’s trademark friendly audiences persuaded Welland resident Janna Smith to take her first leap to the stage.
She makes her acting debut in Sin, Sex and the CIA, Thorold Community Theatre’s new spring comedy.
After arriving at Trinity United Church hall for her first audition, “I was sitting in my car and I wasn’t going to come in,” she confessed, “but I’m told the audiences are friendly.”
She describes her role as Millicent, the reverend’s secretary: “An innocent; very pure, very proper; totally not the brightest one in the world, and through the play, I’m discovering myself. It’s terrifying but really exciting at the same time.”
Stage fright aside, Smith said she’s glad she took the leap of faith.
“It’s been an incredible experience and I couldn’t ask to work with nicer people” than the TCT troupe. “I just took a chance and jumped at it.”
According to Director Rob Goslin, audiences “Can expect an out-and-out physical farce, with laughs and pratfalls and mystery; hilarious wet-your-pants, wipe- your-eyes funny.”
“We’ve done six or seven of their plays,” he said, of the show’s playwrights, Florida husband and wife team Michael and Susan Parker.
Another newcomer to the Thorold stage is Kieran O’Callahan, who relishes his role as the Revered Samuel Abernathy, “a suspect evangelist.” And, as a special bonus, he preaches with an authentic Irish accent.
O’Callahan told ThoroldNews he channels the real deal for the role.
“He reminds me of a lot of clerics I’ve known over the years in Ireland, so I based him on that,” he explained. While the role originally called for a preacher from the south, “It’s funnier coming from Ireland than from the southern U.S.,” he added. “He has feet of clay.”
Goslin describes the inept first-time CIA agent Luke James character as “Bumbling, part Inspector Clousseau, part Inspector Gadget.”
Played by David Redfern, “He’s totally incompetent but has lots of heart, so he’s lovable.”
Deb Howie plays Margaret Johnson, the assistant secretary of state, “a real government topnotch official, motivated primarily by her hormones.”
Bo Fusek plays the mysterious Ranger Don, and Lisa Stevenson plays Heather Ann Faraday, who “says she’s the neighbour from across the creek. Is she?”
Jeff McKinnon rounds out the cast as Daniel Warren, a retired marine sergeant, and “He’s there ostensibly as the caretaker of the safe house,” where the play is set.
The premise is that huge oil reserves have been discovered in The Chagos Islands, and O.P.E.C. is pressuring the Chagosians to join the cartel. The Chagosians, however, are interested in placing themselves under the protection of the U.S.
A secret meeting between a representative of the islands and a U.S. official is arranged in a C.I.A. safe house in the Virgina mountains. Unfortunately, no one knows who the island’s representative really is. Concerned about possible O.P.E.C. interference, the C.I.A. sends in agent Luke James to secure the cabin. An eager beaver on his first field assignment, he gets caught in all his own booby traps, and manages to electrocute himself, set himself on fire, get a bucket stuck on his head, and lock himself in his own handcuffs.
Daniel Warren is an ex-marine with a dry wit, who has little patience for James or the C.I.A., which he calls the “Complete Idiots Academy.”
To complicate matters, he finds himself the target of Margaret Johnson’s overactive libido. Enter The Reverend Samuel Abernathy, a hell and damnation evangelist, who finds sin around every corner, even when there isn’t any. His car has broken down and stranded, he seeks shelter for the night for himself and Millicent, his dowdy and innocent (or is she?) secretary. Heather Ann Faraday, the sexy, mysterious next-door neighbor, also needs to stay the night because her power went out in the storm.
All shows are performed at Trinity United Church Hall, 15 Pine Street South, Thorold. Show dates are from March 29 to 31, April 5 to 7, 12 and 13. Fridays and Saturday performances start at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets cost $15, and are available online at www.thoroldtheatre.ca or by calling the Box Office at 905-682-8779.