“Ed’s Garage” is about a farmer turned mechanic and wannabe psychotherapist who rents out a cottage to an actual psychotherapist, then gets mistaken for the actual psychotherapist by a young man who’s having trouble dealing with the layers of municipal government red tape he encounters while trying to establish a bed and breakfast on his rural concession.
Does hilarity ensue? Well, when the play is written by Dan Needles of Wingfield’s Farm fame, it’s a sure bet that hilarity ensues.
And if there’s a theatrical troupe that knows a Needles play can be a key to success, it’s the Thorndale Dinner Theatre.
Back in 1997, when the Thorndale Agricultural Society was brainstorming ideas for boosting the profile of the annual Fair it organizes, it was decided to resuscitate a mothballed community dinner theatre to serve as a fundraiser. According to Ed Lee, director of the troupe’s upcoming production, it was assumed that year’s performance would be a one-time thing.
But that year’s performance happened to be Needles’ “Perils of Persephone.” (The award-winning playwright as a Thorndale-area connection; his brother, Reed, lives nearby.) And it was a huge hit — so much so there was an undeniable call for dinner theatre to continue.
“Now, this will be the 11th play in this most recent incarnation of Thorndale Dinner Theatre,” Lee told the Journal Argus during a recent Ed’s Garage rehearsal at the village’s community centre — which will welcome theatregoers Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. (Preview Night, with no meal and a ticket price of $15); Saturdays, Feb. 18 and 25 and Friday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 19 at noon (meal and a show for $35).
Three area churches — Thorndale United, St. George Anglican, and South Nissouri Presbyterian — provide the catering, also as a fundraiser for their own congregations.
Lee is a first-time director, although he has assisted Bob Luyben for the past three years. First-time is not the term you’d use for members of this year’s cast, though; Crispin Colvin as Ed, John Van Esch as the titular character’s “executive assistant” Nick, Penny Jones as the visiting psychotherapist, and Murray Lee (Ed’s brother) as the red-tape-inundated young entrepreneur have all been on the community centre stage in past years.
For tickets stop by Ace Hardware, or give them a call at 519-461-0280. Cash or cheques only, please.