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L.A. Beat

Hatrix revisits the Gazebo for first play since pandemic

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It’s good to be back on stage for Hatrix  theatre.

 In the local theatre troupes’ case, they are going way back to bring one of their first plays— Alec Coppel’s 1958 dark comedy “ The Gazebo back to the Moose Hall stage, May 25-28.


Kaitlin Goodliffe, Karl Airey and Clive Abbott rehearse for the Gazebo, running May 25-28 at the Moose Hall. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s defin

itely an anniversary play,” said director Karolyn Harker.


 Hatrix first brought the play to the stage in October 2011.


She brought two of the original Gazebo cast members back into the fold, familiar faces from previous  Hatrix productions and Shakespeare in the park veterans as well as as well as talented newcomers.


Kaela Lee and  Karl Airey rehearse for the Gazebo, running May 25-28 at the Moose Hall. Photo by Richard Amery

 Producing a play during a pandemic has been a challenge, but  it is a community effort. The all volunteer cast and crew have to work around work, school and family schedules.


“It’s been about 10 or 11 years since Hatrix did the Gazebo. And we‘ve just come out of two years of social darkness, so we wanted to do something light that with make people laugh and have a good time,” Harker said.


The pandemic meant the play had to be cancelled a couple of times and they’ve undergone multiple cast changes, but she is pleased with how everything is turning out as opening night draws near.


“It’s about a playwright who’s wife is being blackmailed for a teenage indiscretion, so he decides the only way to protect her is to bump off  the blackmailer and he decides underneath his new gazebo as the perfect location to hide the body of  the blackmailer Joe the Black,” Harker summarized.


“But it’s more comedy than murder mystery,” she said.


“It’s really been exciting. I love this talented cast and crew. So don’t miss it,” she said.


 The cast is :  Elliot Nash,Karl Airey; Nell Nash,Kaela Lee; Harlow Edison,Brent Cutforth; Matilda,Cass Elise; Mrs. Chandler, Emily Frewin; Mr. Thorpe,Richard Amery; The Duchess,Kaitlin Goodliffe; Louie,Clive Abbott; Jenkins,Steven Barfus and  Drucker, Lisa Gearing .



 Clive Abbott is pleased to be back on stage. He has been part of several Fran Rude directed musicals and several Hatrix productions including   “A Comedy of Tenors, “The Foreigner,” “ 12 Angry Jurors and the original Gazebo.

“I was the Duke, the head of the criminal organization,” Abbott said.

 This time I’m Louie. He’s a real gangster. he’ll take any chance  he can to kill,” Abbott said.

 Kaitlin Goodliffe and  Karl Airey rehearse for the Gazebo, running May 25-28 at the Moose Hall. Photo by Richard Amery

He is looking forward to being on stage again.


“I really love working with Karolyn,” Abbott said.

“And the thing I love most about acting is the chance to be a completely different person on stage,” he said.



U of L BFA Graduate  Kaitlin Goodliffe takes over Abbott’s old role of the Duke, now the Duchess.  She  was a familiar face with The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance  Society  before going back to school. he was last on stage in ‘ The Tempest”


“I didn’t do any acting at all when I went back to school. But now, I’m not only a mobster, i’m the head of this criminal gang,” she said.  She was only recruited for the role a month ago, so  the learning curve has been steep.

 “They really needed someone for the role and Karolyn asked me,” Said Goodliffe, who was also in Hatrix’s 2016 production of Ken Ludwig’s Sherlock Holmes themed comedy “ The Game’s Afoot.”


“it’s been stressful, but manageable. It’s time consuming, but a lot of fun,” she said, adding it is a relatively smaller part, so she is only in the second act.

“I only got part of the script, so  I’ve never actually seen the whole thing, Goodliffe said.

“But it’s going to be fun and exciting,” she said.


Emily Frewin, who has also been in several Hatrix Theatre productions is excited to reprise her role of  the realtor Mrs. Chandler, who she played during Hatrix’s original run of the play.

“She has a really big, sassy personality. She’s very persistent and she does whatever she has to to make a sale,” Frewin said, adding it has been a lot of fun to revisit  Mrs. Chandler.

“ It’s been really interesting to find  some new nuances in a character that I’ve played before,” she said.


“ I haven’t been on stage for four years, so I’m very excited  about that,” she said.

The Gazebo runs May 25-28 at The Moose Hall. Tickets are $20 from Casa. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. each night.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor 

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