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The tree may be down, but Christmas keeps on giving

If you didn’t find the true meaning of Christmas over the holidays, you’ll get another chance next month when the Elora Community Theatre stages In-laws, Outlaws and Other People (That Should Be Shot). The opportunity also comes with plenty of laughs.

Starting February 2 at the Fergus Grand Theatre, the dysfunctional family holiday comedy makes merry with the off-kilter family members everyone makes fun of for their quirks and strange behaviours, especially during holiday get-togethers.

“It’s got a great title, eh?” joked ECT’s Deb Stanson of the play. “If you want a really good belly laugh and a really good feel-good comedy for this time of the year, I think it’s perfect. We have a great cast assembled coming from all over – Kitchener, Elmira, Rockwood, Guelph and Elora – and a marvellous set.”

The play is set at a Christmas Eve dinner in a modest, upper-middle-class home in snowy Brooklyn. The excitement begins when two bumbling crooks that have just robbed a bank, Tony and Vinny, use a ruse to gain entrance into the house and spend the evening holding the uncontrollable Douglas family hostage. The unmanageable situation gets worse with an ever-growing list of family members and neighbours who keep dropping by.

“It is a lot of fun, a lot of eccentric characters, and at one point you’re wondering who is holding hostage who,” said Stanson.

The ECT production of the comedy by playwright Steve Franco is being directed by Stan Jensen, whose job it is to bring every lousy habit of the strange Douglas family to the forefront. Jensen has 15 cast members to guide through the hysteria.

“It is a family show, written back in 2007. The playwright himself was a high school teacher. He actually wrote it for a school, so there is no profanity in it or adult situations; it is what we call a true holiday farce.”

And having the production come out in February, post-Christmas, Stanson explains, was a way to keep the yuletide festivities going. And perhaps help launch people out of those winter blues with a good laugh.

The Elora Community Theatre production of In-laws, Outlaws and Other People (That Should Be Shot) runs at the Fergus Grand Theatre Fridays (February 2 and 9) at  8 p.m., Saturdays (February 3 and 10) with  2 p.m. and 8 p.m. show times, and Sundays (February 4  at 11) at  2 p.m.. Tickets available at the theatre box office by calling (519) 787-1981 or online at fergusgrandtheatre.ca.

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