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Mike MacDonald bringing unique comedy to Lethbridge on the Black Jack Comedy Tour

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You’ve seen him on the Comedy Channel, and may have caught him in B.C during the Black Jack tour last fall, now catch Montreal born, Los Angeles based comedian Mike MacDonald  live at Average Joes when the Black Jack Comedy Tour returns, Feb. 5.

Comedians Mike MacDonald and Matt Billon come to Lethbridge with the BlackJack Comedy tour, Feb. 5. Photo submittedMacDonald (not the same Mike MacDonald as the former Doobie Brothers crooner)  has performed at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and hosted both the Gemini Awards and Just For Laughs 10th Anniversary Special as well as performed all over North America.

“I prefer people go home happy. I don’t want 15-20 people to go home happy except for the one I nailed,” said MacDonald of his easygoing attitude towards hecklers, relating the story of a lady in the front row of a New Years Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club show in Calgary, who yelled out the punch line to one of his bits.

“ She said ‘I heard that before.’ I told her, you don’t do that — yell out the punch line to a bit. Some people may not have heard it before. But it’s safe to sit in the front row of one of my shows. Some comedians  depend on hecklers for a good show, but I don’t,” he said adding , like he did in this case, he’d rather come up with a brand new bit on the spot  off the top of his head.

“So that’s what I did. And I said ‘I’ll bet you never saw that one coming, that’s because it’s brand new,’” he laughed adding his routines are constantly changing.

“ I have a bit about remote controls. But sometimes I’ll come up with a new line and I can’t wait to use it. If a promoter wants an hour of comedy, that’s what he’ll get. But if I use two minutes of a new bit, it means another two minutes will have to go,” he said adding he enjoyed the first edition of the Blackfoot Comedy Tour with organizer and comedian Matt Billon, which took them all over British Columbia for 20 shows in 21 days.

“He organized it all. When he called me about this, all I had to do was say yes,” MacDonald said.

“The first tour was great. People were very appreciative. Some of the clubs we played had never had live entertainment of any kind before. And it opened a lot of doors for the future,” he said.
“And Matt is perfect. He organizes everything. If everyone in the business was as  enjoyable to work with, things would be  so much easier,” he continued.


Importance of Being Earnest will be a lot of laughs

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Director Rita Peterson has been looking forward to directing  “The Importance of Being Earnest,” for many years.Craig McCue and Renae Snelgrove rehearse a scene from the Importance of Being Earnest. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s a play about the hypocrisy of  the British aristocracy. It just makes fun of it all,” Peterson said adding she has seen the play performed twice and has been waiting for the opportunity to direct her own production of it for a long time.
“It’s a very delightful farce, Some people call it Britain’s greatest farce,” Peterson enthused.

“Oscar Wilde is known for his dialogue and “ the Importance of Being Earnest”  has some lovely and likable characters,” she continued adding most people are drawn to the wit  and the dialogue of Oscar Wilde’s classic farce.
“I’ve wanted to stage a production of this play for over 20 years,” Peterson said.

The Importance of being Earnest was first staged in 1895. It is a classic British  farce, a comedy of manners relating the adventures of of two well -to-do and flippant young mNaomi Snelgrove and Andrew Merrigan rehearse. Photo by Richard Ameryen who pretend their names are Ernest to impress the two loves of their lives, who believe men with the name Ernest have numerous winning and marriagable qualities.

“ The cast is having a lot of fun with their characters. They are loving the style and the dialogue,” she coninued.

Two sisters are especially looking forward to being part of the Playgoers of Lethbridge production, Feb. 2-5 at the Yates Centre.
“We were both in ( Lethbridge Musical Theatre’s winter production) Kiss Me Kate together, but we were only in the chorus,” observed Naomi Snelgrove,26, who plays Gwendolen.
“It’s been  a lot of fun. We’re always  quoting lines at each other and talking in weird accents,” she continued.


Theatre Xtra examines variety of themes in Song of the Say Sayer

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Geneviève Paré just finished performing in  New West Theatre’s production of Marooned with Munsch, but with barely a breath to spare, leaped in to the director’s chair for Theatre Xtra’s latest production of Daniel Danis’ “Song of The Say Sayer,” which runs at the David Spinks Theatre, Jan. 20-22.

“I love it. I like collaborating with the actors and crew and watching it come alive. This is the largest production I’ve done on my own,” Paré saiStephen Iremonger, Robyn Jabusch and Ali Deregt. Photo by Richard Ameryd, who has done a lot of acting in the past year including appearing in Festen as well as being assistant director for last year’s epic production of Hair.

 She is looking forward to seeing the production develop.
 “The biggest challenge has been interpreting the script. There are a lot of themes. If you misinterpret the script, you might not get them, ” she said of the Linda Gaboriau translation they are working from.

“It’s not like Shakespeare where the language is so complex. There’s just a lot of themes in this one,” she continued.

“It’s about three brothers and their sister whose parents are killed by a lightning both when they are children. And the whole community  wants to put them in a foster care home, but they insist on raising themselves, but their sister is severely altered,” Paré continued adding the siter  ends up having a blood clot.


Toopy and Binoo come to life on stage in Toopy and Binoo and the Marshmallow Moon

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Popular children’s cartoon Toopy and Binoo comes to life for two shows, Jan. 19 at the Yates Theatre, 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Exploring the adventures of chatty giant mouse Toopy and his stuffed cat companion Binoo, who comes alive in his imagination, the cartoon becomes a big stage 90-minute production presented by Koba Entertainment called Toopy and Binoo and the Marshmallow Moon.Toopy and Binoo and Frank Meschkuleit. Photo by Koba Entertainment
“Well you’re half right,” said Frank Meschkuleit of upcoming visit to Lethbridge for the show. Meschkuleit, who does Toopy’s voice in the popular cartoon, pre-recorded the voice of the hyperactive, naïve and clueless giant mouse Toopy, who along with pint sized cat sidekick Binoo, have provided lots of laughs for both children and adults since 2005.

“I gave it my best swing at the bat. You do what you’re asked to do. Koba  had a great concept,” he said adding  the production which has between six to eight cast members.
“I’m hoping to get a free ticket to it when it comes to Toronto at some point, but I hear it is going very well,” he laughed, slipping into Toopy’s hilarious helium sounding high voice, speaking  of the production, which is touring all over Canada this winter.

“Toopy and Binoo are two dimensional characters, so it was a challenge for them to make them into three dimensional stage characters,” he continued.
“It was also a challenge for me, because Toopy is always going at 110 per cent on a constant high,” he said adding it took five weeks to record the vocals for the production. He finished the vocals for the cartoon series two years ago.

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