Bella Coola was treated to a special evening of entertainment last Saturday at the Moose Hall. “Night at the Theatre and Dance” was the collaborative effort of a large number of Bella Coola community members, under the creative direction of Rose Clark.
Supported by the Bella Coola Valley Learning Society, the Bella Coola Valley Arts Council, the BC Arts Council, and Vancouver Coastal Health, the evening was a mix of “music, mayhem, intrigue, secrets, and of course dinner.”
It was a packed house as guests arrived early for dinner before taking their seats (if they could find one). The show opened with a performance by the Valley Fiddle Group under the tutelage of Janice Kyle.
The first skit, “DMV Tyrant,” featuring Faith Fontaine and Rose Clark, was a hilarious rendition of a woman’s attempt to get a driver’s license from a very unaccommodating clerk. Fontaine delivered the role spot on and the audience was in stitches.
Music was provided throughout the evening in a variety of formats. The first interlude featured local musicians Andrew Stapleton, Katy Best and David Brown, who performed a storytelling tune, “Wild Bill Jones.” Jessi Robinson, a special guest to the Valley, performed two opera numbers, “Caro Mio Ben,” and “Wishing You Were Somewhere Here Again.”
The second play was a monologue by Rowen Atkinson entitled “Father of the Bride,” which was impeccably delivered by local actor John Morton. The third act of the evening, “Self Defense Against Fresh Fruit,” was a Monty Python skit that featured Ray McIlwain as the Sargent, with Emma Brown, Lu Bittner, and Garfield Kirk as his recruits. This outrageous number was full of surprises, including Ariana Diguistini as a tiger in the end!
The last two skits starred a number of characters who had imbibed a bit more than they should have. Rose Clark as Tiffany and John Morton as Jake were a perfect match in “Strange Encounters” about a young woman’s rather odd run of bad luck.
The last performance of the evening featured the skillful cast of Ray McIlwain, Tom Carneigh, and Diana Saugstad. McIlwain delivered a great performance as Bernard, a grouchy bookstore owner, while Saugstad and Carneigh had the audience in stitches with her portrayal of Fran, his neurotic long-time friend, and Manny, the hired help. David Brown, in a cameo as Manny’s love interest, Rowena, topped off the hilarious happenings of a night out.
The evening came to a close with a performance by the Valley’s newest musical trio, the aptly named “Wayne’s Buddy Rose.”