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When everything goes wrong, there are plenty of laughs

Renee Murray and Mairi Frere, two of the hotel staff members, are terrified of the cockroaches that show up in the hotel just as some important guests are arriving. [Submitted]

A hotel full of super-sized cockroaches would be enough to send anyone running straight out the door. Theatre Wellesley is hoping it’ll have their audience firmly planted to their seats in fits of laughter instead, with their fall production of Château La Roach.

Renee Murray and Mairi Frere, two of the hotel staff members, are terrified of the cockroaches that show up in the hotel just as some important guests are arriving.[Submitted]
Renee Murray and Mairi Frere, two of the hotel staff members, are terrified of the cockroaches that show up in the hotel just as some important guests are arriving. [Submitted]
Producer Rhonda Caldwell said the community theatre group always does a comedy in the fall and they like to choose plays that allow for a fairly large cast.

“We’re thinking anybody that’s ever had a bad vacation experience can probably relate to the play or anybody who is probably a business owner who’s had things go wrong can relate to the play,” Caldwell said.

The show opens with Mimi Laroche, the hotel proprietress, discovering a cockroach in the hotel. She promptly informs her husband François, and they also soon discover that the health inspector is on their way, along with some important guests who they absolutely don’t want to cancel.

“There is Hanula, she is a travel writer,” Caldwell said. “We have a pretend child actor who is coming with his manager, as well as other off the wall characters who are about to arrive and they think the health inspector is disguised as one of the guests.”

Once they call the exterminator, chaos ensues to the point where eventually there’s a giant cockroach in the hotel, situated on the shores of Lake Likawomba. The hotel staff are arguing, the waitress is late, and the exterminator only seems to be making the roach problem worse.

Other hotel guests include wealthy widow Enira de Can and her spiritual advisor Madame Zillinda; renowned British cyclist Nigel Havoc; and newlyweds Jip and Josie Nackerly.

Auditions were held in the spring and they’ve been rehearsing since September for their November show dates. She said the majority of the actors have performed with them before, while five actors are new to the Wellesley stage.

“We have many of the same local businesses that have advertised with us year after year and many of the same people who come out to the shows,” Caldwell said. “We certainly feel like we have the support of the community.”

Other characters are the exterminator, the bellhop, the Italian chef, the elevator operator, a waitress, a maid, and a nun.

The Saturday night show will be done in dinner theatre style with appetizers, desserts, and beverages being served by Bellzy’s Catering. Wellesley Idol winner Ben Cottrill will also be singing four songs between acts that evening.

“It’s a really fun night out to leave everything else behind and be in the moment of the play,” Caldwell said.

Written by Lauren Wilson, Caldwell said one of the challenges to putting together this production was designing the set. They need the illusion of an elevator, a swinging kitchen door, and a window to be climbed through, not to mention creating a giant cockroach costume.

“You always hope people will come and you’ll sell enough tickets to cover your cost,” Caldwell said. “We’re hoping that our new caterer is well received and we’re just hoping that the audience has a good time like they always do.”

Caldwell has been with the theatre group since its origin in 1997. The cast members come from across Wellesley, Woolwich, Wilmot, and the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

The Theatre Wellesley presentation of Château La Roach runs November 20-21 at 8 p.m., with an additional 2 p.m. show time on November 22. Tickets are $17 for the first two nights, and $12 for the Saturday matinee performance. The dinner theatre style show on November 22 is at 7:30 p.m. for $30.

For tickets or more information visit Pym’s Village Market, email contact@theatrewellesley.ca, or call 519-897-1737.

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