• James Parry

Fabulous fixer-upper in Hudson as of April 20 for two days only


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JAMES PARRY

Standing with the iconic sculpture outside Hudson Village Theatre created by Hudsonite Marcel Braitstein, Kyle Gregor-Pearse, Karen Cromar, and Lorne Elliott are all set to stage The Fixer-Upper there with a most creative set designed and constructed by Lorne’s brother Michael and with all proceeds going to Nova Hudson.

One would think it would take less than a decade or so to put the finishing touches to a 'fixer-upper'. Known in the real estate business as a marketing euphemism for a house or property full of promise but requiring a whole lot of work renovations to make the investment worthwhile, let alone habitable.

In this case, we are talking about a shack in Prince Edward Island. Far removed from Vancouver, incidentally, where such a property was listed for sale last week at a cool $6.2 million after being bought two years earlier for just $2.8 million. But I digress.

Back to PEI or, to be more specific, to the Hudson Village Theatre (HVT) where back by popular demand, Hudson's very own funny man, novelist, and playwright extraordinaire Lorne Elliott will again be presenting The Fixer-Upper on April 20-21. First staged just over 10 years ago, it’s a fun, thought-provoking comedy about family dynamics, summer rentals and - dare I say the word in this era of Donald Trump? - profiteering.

I caught the show at the same venue in September last year and loved it. Looking on as PEI resident Bruno MacIntyre, a good-natured slacker looking for the chance to make an easy buck was intent on making the deal to end all deals. For when his father leaves him the rundown old shack in the midst of a swamp, he has the brilliant idea of renting it out as a vacation spot to unsuspecting members of his large family for extra income over the summer season.

But then, to parryphrase Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest, 'Ah, such stuff as dreams are made of but they don't always work out in the grand scheme of things.' And certainly when it comes to his on-stage Aunt Tillie. Enough said.

I caught up with Elliott earlier this week who told me, “One of the many great things about live theatre from the writer's point of view is that you have the opportunity to constantly test your material, then rewrite the parts that aren't up to scratch, improving them until, hopefully, the whole play is so good that nobody can ignore it. The Fixer-Upper is, I believe, now in its final form. For sure there will be little tweaks here and there before we open at HVT but, for all intents and purposes, it's finished. And if not, it certainly should be!”

Added Elliott, “Last year we only performed for two nights at HVT and both were sold out so we decided to donate the proceeds to Nova Hudson. I think we can say it was a hit. Now we are back for those who didn't get a chance to go the first time or, of course, for anybody who wants to see it again. So come on out, have a good time and feel good about supporting Nova because that's where the proceeds are going this time too.”

Also this time around, the same cast that has been touring to critical acclaim throughout Quebec and Ontario will be back. Namely in addition to Elliott, local multi-talented actors Kyle Gregor-Pearse and Karen Cromar. All talking over the telephone to one another in a scenario that would… Well, let's leave that to your imagination!

Meanwhile, for reservations call the HVT Box Office at (450) 458-5361 or go to villagetheatre.ca. The performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21. Tickets are $20, there is no tax or fees, and HVT is located at 28 Wharf Road, Hudson.

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