Comedy will return to its clean roots for a night when Reflections of Red, a Red Skelton tribute, comes to Parksville’s Royal Canadian Legion, Br. #49 — Mt. Arrowsmith on April 4.
“It’s non-offensive, respectful humour,” said Larry Hall, entertainment chair at the Legion. “People of our age group appreciate it.”
The show was created in 2005 by Victoria-based actor Al Greenwood, who said he had noticed that there was little to no comedy made specifically for seniors.
“I wanted to give them something everyone could watch,” he said, adding that he also believes that comedy should be “clean and simple.”
In Reflections of Red, Greenwood brings classic characters like The Two Seagulls, Clem Kadiddlehopper and Freddie the Freeloader to life using costumes, music and Skelton’s original material. “I think of it as watching his TV show,” he said. Throughout the act, Greenwood also speaks about Skelton’s life and extensive accomplishments.
While he said it can occasionally be difficult to perfect an impersonation of someone who was essentially an impersonator themselves, taking on Skelton’s roles was natural for Greenwood.
“I’m a very physical actor so it was very easy to make the transition,” said the performer, who has a background in both acting and clowning.
A “self-taught” clown, Greenwood first learned to juggle and walk on stilts in his early 20s for a role in Barnum. Soon after, he performed at a birthday party and was hooked on the gig.
“I thought, ‘Are you kidding, somebody pays you to play?’” he said. “What better job is there?”
Greenwood worked as a professional clown for the next 35-40 years, but eventually decided to also get back into theatre. He said Reflections of Red allowed for him to keep up with both his skills.
Advance tickets to the show are $20 and are available now at the bar in the Legion’s lounge. There will also be tickets sold at the door on April 4 for $25.
The show will start at 7:30 p.m., but doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the kitchen will be open for those wanting dinner.