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Review: It's a Grand Time in the Rapids, indeed

Feel like a refreshing dip? Jump in, the water's fine with the latest from beloved local theatre company, Teatro la Quindicina.
Teatro 22 Grand Rapids 6 Credit Marc J Chalifoux (2)
Local favourites Andrew MacDonald-Smith and Farren Timoteo are a pair at odds in the farce A Grand Time in the Rapids, playing now at the Varscona Theatre. Photo: Marc J. Chalifoux

As is said about watching great performers doing their thing on stage, I could watch the players featured in A Grand Time in the Rapids--now playing at the Varscona Theatre--read the phone book and find it most enjoyable. So with local favourites Farren Timoteo and Andrew MacDonald-Smith riding the waves of the farcical fun in the latest from Teatro la Quindicina, how could said show be anything but silly, yet worthwhile fun? 

Teatro resident playwright Steward Lemoine brings back A Grand Time in the Rapids for the company's 40th anniversary season, a play that returns to the stage for the first time in a decade. It's a light and breezy four-door farce with all the expected mayhem: mistaken identities, spilled drinks and swapped clothing plus a bit of singing and a bottle of fizzy seltzer thrown in for good measure because...why not?

The story follows a young British widow, Thalia Cumberland, who it turns out, has shot her husband back across the pond. Now in 1950s Grand Rapids, Michigan, Thalia wants to enlighten her new beau, Boyd Mayhew, and enlists the aid of etiquette expert Ted Todd to explain the problem. Things seem fine but then, not, and ensuing chaos ensures a fun couple of hours for the audience and, it looks like, for the players on stage too.

Teatro veterans, all three, Kristen Padayas is charming as the sometimes slow-to-catch-on Thalia. Padayas is a solid straight-man to the antics of the two fellows in the room, played with gusto by the aforementioned and talented Timoteo, as sweet but sometimes annoying manners man Ted Todd, and the delightfully duplicitous MacDonald Smith. The threesome work well together, whether shooting seltzer or wrestling around the floor, swapping dressing gowns or practicing vocal scales. Director Belinda Cornish (who originated the role of Thalia in 2005) must've had just as much fun shepherding this trio for her return to the piece, and she ensures the pace is quick and energy stays high throughout.

It's summer; no better time for some zany fun, so be assured: you're in good hands with the folks presenting this remake from the Teatro canon. Grab a raft and bob along the waters for a spell.

A Grand Time in the Rapids is live and in-person at the Varscona Theatre, 10329 83 Ave NW, from July 7 to 24. Tickets are at teatroq.com