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A vacation goes off the rails for laughs in The Trouble With Cats

House-sitters Ivy and Phillip Julian get more than they bargained for in Theatre Wellesley’s upcoming comical production of The Trouble With Cats.

The Julians are in their 50s and have agreed to housesit for homeowner Joanna Birman at her lakefront cottage. But a relaxing vacation quickly goes awry when some unexpected guests show up.

“They’re very excited about the opportunity to relax, write, spend time together. They’re not even there a couple hours and another couple shows up that is also purposefully being set up to also housesit,” explains show producer Rhonda Caldwell, who also plays Joanna in the show.

Young hippie couple Sunshine and River show up with the impression they’re supposed to be house sitting.

Then they’re joined by Joy and Nelson Bombay, the pesky neighbours who always seem to be popping by.

And there are the three sisters, Mitzy, Noelle and Onie Cheshire who all come with their own quirks. Amos the animal caregiver also makes an appearance.

“There’s some things wrong going on with the house. What some of them involve is there’s a major construction project going on in one of the bedrooms and there’s the mystery about who PJ is. They sort of think PJ is maybe a cat, but they spend most of the show trying to figure out who PJ is,” Caldwell said.

The title of the show comes from the characters thinking PJ might me a cat, but also because many of the characters have cat names like Bombay and Cheshire.

Everything is not as it seems in Theatre Wellesley’s production of The Trouble With Cats. The actors have been busy rehearsing since September. Back: Judy Johnson, Ted Shier, Karen Reger, Sascha West. Renee Murray, Grant Chapman. Front: Dave McNorgan, Jamie McLean, Rhonda Caldwell.[Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Everything is not as it seems in Theatre Wellesley’s production of The Trouble With Cats. The actors have been busy rehearsing since September. Back: Judy Johnson, Ted Shier, Karen Reger, Sascha West. Renee Murray, Grant Chapman. Front: Dave McNorgan, Jamie McLean, Rhonda Caldwell. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]

There will be familiar faces on stage since all of the actors have performed on the Theatre Wellesley stage before.

Caldwell explains for their fall shows they like to choose comedies with a large cast and a range of ages. It’s also important the characters go through some good relationship development.

She says the show is geared to teens and adults.

Caldwell notes they’re excited to welcome Theatre Wellesley veteran Al Strong to direct the show, which comes with a whole whack of quirky characters.

“So we’ve got the Bombays who live next door who just come and invite themselves in and also invade the peace and quiet that never happens at this house. And we’ve got some real clashes of personalities. The one couple is older and very, very conservative and the other couple is very young and very Bohemian,” Caldwell said.

Despite their differences, both couples are determined to stay. Ivy rolls with the curveball, but her hubby struggles to deal with the change in plans. This has a huge impact on their relationship.

Written by playwright Gary Ray Stapp this is the first time Theatre Wellesley has done one of his shows.

Caldwell notes one challenge for the actors is making such strange characters seem authentic. But rehearsals have been going well. They held auditions in June and started rehearsals in September for the November productions.

Some of the actors have even switched roles along the way.

“It’s actually been kind of fun watching somebody be one character and then all of a sudden be someone else and go ‘wow they’re totally different,’” Caldwell said.

Unlike their spring shows which are performed on the top floor of the Wellesley Library, their fall shows are done at the Wellesley Community Centre. She says for the price of the show, it’s a high quality production in terms of the acting, costumes and set.

She says it’ll be a fun evening out with more than a few laughs.

“It’s a lighthearted comedy and I really hope that they enjoy the relationship development and I hope they laugh at some of the quirky things that happen on stage.”

Theatre Wellesley presents The Trouble With Cats from Nov. 17-20 at the Wellesley Community Centre. Tickets are $12 for Saturday and Sunday matinees, and $17 for Thursday and Friday evening performances. Tickets are on sale at Pym’s Village Market.

For tickets or more information visit www.theatrewellesley.ca or call 519-897-1737.

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