By Heather Walters | Port Dover Maple Leaf
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Norm Foster has done it again with this hilarious comedy about five rather ordinary men that find themselves in financial straits that inevitably lead to desperate measures. Foster himself describes this piece of work as a ‘flat out comedy’ – a heist play and a subject matter he had never explored before. The stage play opened Thursday evening to a full house at Lighthouse Theatre in Port Dover and will run here through to Sept. 2. The play then moves to Port Colborne until Sept. 17.
It is a fast-paced situational comedy held together by five men and loads of witty dialogue. The entire situation unfolds in a cleverly designed “man cave” created by set designer Megan Cinel.
Jeffrey Wetsch, aka “Chef”, is the owner of the house and a failing restaurant – the reason he is driven to take such drastic measures to come up with money. His next door neighbour and recently divorced friend Robert, AKA Rubber, – played by Lighthouse Festival’s Artistic Director Derek Ritschel – becomes his first accomplice.
They come up with a scheme to steal an expensive race horse and decide to bring in three dubious, slightly shady, fairly unscrupulous two-bit criminals to help out with the caper.
Padre, played by Brad Rudy, is a tough mafia-like figure they hope will help them pull off the heist since they have no actual experience committing a crime. They quickly find themselves in over their heads, half fascinated by Padre and half terrified of him. Next they bring in “The Twins” AKA Chip and Dale – a hilarious duo that “come as a set” – who are two-bit thieves with a poor record of success, but who are highly likeable and willing to upgrade their skills in this ambitious scheme.
Brad Austin (Chip) is the slightly brighter of the two brothers while Allan Cooke (Dale) steals the show with his failure to understand just about everything that is going on. He is, however, a willing participant and the one who threatens to jeopardize the entire operation when he shows his “soft side” to the horse.
A shout out must go to the creative team behind the scene – Kevin Fraser (lighting), Alex Amini (costumes), Daniele Guillaume (stage manager), Sara Allison (assistant stage manager) and Megan Cinel (set design).
A Pack of Thieves is on stage at Lighthouse Theatre until September 2. If you want to know whether these unlikely criminals pull off a successful heist, tickets can be purchased at the Main Street box office, by visiting lighthousetheatre.com, or by calling 519-583-2221.