Apr 19, 2013

L to R: Sarah Meindersma, Geoff Johnston, Judy Wenjina, Darrell Baker, Michael Maloney, Lee Smith, Derek Wagter & Ritchie Carnes [cast pix courtesy 'It Can Damage Your Health' playbill]
As they prepare for a hiatus while their theatre gets renovated, the Dunnville Community Theatre [DCT] pulled out all the stops with their recent live productions of Eric Chappell's 'It Can Damage Your Health'.

The playbill for 'It Can Damage Your Health' best describes the show..."A comically mismatched trio of men share a small men's surgical ward: the cynical Higgins [played by Michael Maloney] who seems to know more about medicine than the doctors, the young and nervous Gary [Darrell Baker] whose inexperience with women is a subject of much discussion amongst his companions, and the weary hypochondriac Palmer [Lee Smith] who prefers being in hospital to living his bachelor life."

The three main characters are joined throughout the show by "naughty" nurse Christine [played by Judy Wenjina -last seen in DCT's deliciously amusing production of 'Kitchen Witches'] nurse Ranji [Derek Wagter's debut appearance with DCT] and Dr. Gibbs [Geoff Johnston]. Cameo appearances were also made by Ritchie Carnes as the 'Silent Patient' and Sarah Meindersma, the show's backstage manager who also portrayed a nurse.

Clockwise from top right: Nancy Erskine, Kathryn Stengel, Julie Turner
'It Can Damage Your Health' was produced by DCT President Nancy Erskine and directed by DCT alumni Julie Turner and Kathryn Stengel [both of whom appeared last Fall in 'Curtains Up'].

Although I've said it before, I can't help but repeat how much I enjoy the live productions put on by the Dunnville Community Theatre. Small but mighty, the group utilizes every inch of its cozy stage to transform audiences to another time and place. Early into the first scene, I was buying into the concept that I was a fly on the wall in a surgical ward, voyeuristically enjoying the misadventures of Higgins, Gary and Palmer.

This was the first time I had attended a DCT show with a mostly male ensemble and it was as impressive as the theatre's all female productions . Although there were a few noticeable missed cues, the cast were brilliant with an added nod going to Michael Maloney whose character Higgins managed to do something no other had yet done...make me tear up.

The prescription for an entertaining night out, was indeed 'It Can Damage Your Health'.

The theatre group will go into limbo mode after this production as the Optimist Hall they perform from undergoes much needed renovations.  The hall has reassured DCT that they will have a place to call home once the reno's are completed, with no definitive date available at this time.

In her playbill message, Nancy Erskine tells us "We have DCT events planned to help fundraise for the necessary and costly work." This will include music nights, children's workshops and theatre nights.

Scribbles will be sure to let our readers know when and where these events will take place and we encourage everyone to support DCT.  You may contact DCT at 905-774-9491 for more details.