I never thought I would have such a good time with male ‘locker talk’, but this is one fine, fun production.
The opening night audience never stopped laughing. At one moment I realized I was shaking, trying to hold in the laughter, because I didn’t want to miss a single word.
BC playwright Roy Teed’s The Good Game presented by the Ladysmith Players is the hottest show this season.
Not only does the set ring true, and the characters ring true, but your ears ring with the semi-authentic banter of the locker room.
After 30 years, the three-time champion Nestor Newtons have assembled from various parts of the country to play a charity game against a new enemy: the present team of young, up-and-coming champions.
As the old team changes into their hockey gear, (in itself a hilarious comic romp), the layers are metaphorically and literally, stripped away with their quick, raw wit. These men are not only has-beens but also well over-the-hill.
Torry Clark plays Zack the all-star captain whose hockey career abruptly ended, betrayed by his knees.
Mike Cooper is the aggressively raw goalie working on his seventh wife. He’s a hopeless romantic, all gooey as he reveals boundless optimism in his puppy love for his latest.
Pinky the French Canadian is played authentically by Alan Watt. He is big and magnanimous and mature, but easily returns to his immature competitive former self.
CJ, the nastiest little goon in the league, is played with ferocious elegance and finesse by Mort Paul. CJ reappears as a cultured, pretentious, author with copies of his book for his dumbfounded, teammates. He tells them they will win this time, not through brute force but instead with elegance and finesse.
Samantha Brown, a celebrity reporter, skillfully and with great energy played by Sherri McLean, is back to do a radio documentary on the return of the team. She and Zack once had terrific chemistry, and though she has reached star status and respectability, the men cannot resist becoming insensitive cavemen around her.
Set into the side of the stage is the control booth for the radio station. Gordon Ray plays the puffed up Don Cherry-type older announcer to Dave Ehrismann’s local shock jock.
We genuinely cared for these very human characters. The well-structured play moves us rapidly toward the climax and the loving realism is balanced with a deft comedic style and sometimes wild stage business.
This is ensemble acting at its best, the entire cast is strong and wonderfully balanced.
It is so much fun to be in an audience that is having a great time, constantly exploding in delighted laughter.
You’ll be sorry if you miss this.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There will be a signed and authentic framed print of former Vancouver Canuck player and coach Orland Kurtenbach for raffle at the theatre. There is also a director’s warning of coarse language.