Today's date: Monday April 22, 2019
column width padding column width padding

The Wellington Advertiser Masthead Logo

We Cover The County...
40,052 Audited Circulation

WEEKLY POLL   |   Community News   |   EQUINE   |   Schools & Buses

Wellington Weddings 2019
Business Leader Banner
column width padding column width padding

REVIEW: Screwball Comedy a must-see

Screwball crew - Stephen Sparks, Adrian Shepherd, Mairi Babb and Melanie Janzen star in Screwball Comedy at Theatre Orangeville until April 22. Submitted photo

REVIEW: Screwball Comedy a must-see

by Chris Daponte

ORANGEVILLE - Like any good writer, Norm Foster tries to incorporate the word “assuage” whenever possible.

In his case, it’s a foretelling quirk, as Foster productions unfailingly alleviate everyday worries for theatre-goers. The latest example of the playwright’s escapist humour is Screwball Comedy, on stage now at Theatre Orangeville.

Set in 1938, the play opens with newspaper editor Mr. Godfrey, nicknamed Bosco (played by Stephen Sparks), accusing his top reporter Jeff Kincaid (Adrian Shepherd) of subpar work.

When Kincaid pushes back, Bosco enlists the help of aspiring journalist Mary Hayes (Mairi Babb) and issues a challenge to his star reporter and the newcomer: whoever writes the best story will retain the reporter’s job.

The ultimatum is taken as an insult by Jeff and as the chance of a lifetime by Mary, though the actual assignment inspires neither of them.

They’re tasked with covering the upcoming high society wedding of the son of the newspaper’s owner Delores Diddle (Melanie Janzen).

But the reporters arrive at the Diddle mansion to discover Delores actually wants them to dig up some dirt to help break off the wedding of her indolent son Chauncey (also Sparks) and his fiance, the suspected gold digger Gloria (also Janzen).

Making the task even more confusing are the pending nuptials of Delores and her own fiance Peter (Sparks again), whose relationship seems odd in its own right.

Jeff and Mary soon discover things may not be what they seem and the “fluff piece” for the newspaper likely won’t be that easy to write after all.

Shepherd and Babb are great in portraying the on-again, off-again romance between Jeff and Mary, including back-and-forth dialogue and verbal jabs reminiscent of the 1930s and 40s  films after which this production was aptly titled.

Janzen is hilarious in three roles (she also plays Bosco’s secretary Jonesy), particularly as Delores and Gloria. The two women, while different, are both  eccentric with a penchant for absurd mannerisms.

Sparks is outstanding as Bosco, Chauncey and Peter, and his portrayal of the Diddles’ odd butler Reginald is itself worth the price of admission. Sparks’ delivery is flawless, eliciting loud laughter and applause at Reginald’s outlandish bootlicking and self-deprecating commentaries on his menial status.

The set and costume design, by Beckie Morris and Alex Amini respectively, are fabulous, and the direction from David Nairn appears to be spot-on.

As is often the case with Foster productions, the script is stellar from start to finish.

This is obviously a period piece, but the material is certainly not dated. In fact, this is one of Foster’s funniest scripts to date - and that’s saying something.

Seldom have I heard so much laughter, and at such a high volume, during a live theatre production.

Chalk up period dialogue as yet another feather in Foster’s theatrical cap. Screwball Comedy is an absolutely hilarious foray into a bygone era. It’s a must-see.

Screwball Comedy plays until April 22. For tickets call 519-942-3423 or 1-800-424-1295 or visit

April 13, 2018


Tell Us What You Think

Login to submit a comment

Comments appearing on this website are the opinion of the comment writer and do not represent the opinion of the Wellington Advertiser. Comments that attack other individuals or are offensive, unsubstantiated or otherwise inappropriate will be removed. You must register or log in in order to post a comment. For more information, read our detailed Comment Policy and Guidelines.


Lions Home Show


Community Guide Spring 2019

Related Stories

  • REVIEW: Timeless Christmas tale a fine production
  • REVIEW: The Melville Boys delivers heart, hilarity
  • Guelph vocalist Brenda Lewis performing at festival
  • Ninth Blues and Jazz Festival is June 2 to 5
  • Ned Durango is musical comedy at its best
  • REVIEW: Harvest features likable characters, despite weaknesses in story
  • Last chance to see In a World Created By A Drunken God at Theatre Orangeville
  • C. difficile outbreak at Headwaters Health Care in Orangeville
  • Another wind farm protest set for Nov 27
  • Conference worked on innovating for change in rural Ontario
  • Theatre Orangevilles Skin Flick another comedic gem from Norm Foster
  • Theatre adds extra Rhinestone Cowgirl matinee
  • Chartered accountants explain how HST can affect business people
  • Teens 13 to 15 wanted for TV show and obstacle course
  • Hunters fined for killing swans at Luther Marsh
  • Fourth annual horse event offers something for all equine disciplines
  • column width padding column width padding column width padding

    The Wellington Advertiser





    Digital Publications


    Twitter Logo

    Free Press News Network Logo