The Christmas season is upon us and the Chemainus Theatre is set to open its latest seasonal delight.
The iconic theatre will present the Cornwalls’ All-inclusive Cancun Christmas this year, which will run from Nov. 17 to Dec. 3, and will star Mack Gordon, Marlee Walchuk, David Adams and Emily Henney.
This hilarious, precarious take on a family Christmas vacation set in Cancun is packed with family secrets that keep you wondering if they’ll even make it to New Years.
It’s the mid-1980s, and the Cornwalls are getting ready to celebrate the holidays.
But this year, the same-old traditions just aren’t going to cut it.
Harry Cornwall has been married to Judy for 25 years, and his beloved wife has dreamt of having a grand adventure for almost as long.
He is determined to make her wish come true, and has found the perfect holiday getaway — on sale too!
But as Harry’s act of devotion edges toward disaster, he may need a Christmas miracle greater than even Santa could deliver.
Newlyweds Sissy (Cornwall) and Kyle have been summoned to the airport by dad.
Arriving with their suitcases packed, and a rather conspicuous carry-on, they decide to wait until Christmas Eve to spring their big news on the family.
If a special delivery doesn’t surprise them first.
Young Tommy Cornwall is stoked.
With his first love at his side (his guitar, Ethel) he’s ready to have a rock n’ roll good time in the sun.
When his most precious possession disappears, a frantic hunt begins — and leads him to discover a whole new kind of love.
The Cornwalls’ All-inclusive Cancun Christmas is the second holiday play centred on this quirky family, co-written by local playwrights Nicolle Nattrass and Mark DuMez, and directed by Barbara Tomasic, who last visited the Festival to direct the wildly-popular Footloose.
The authors were inspired to revisit the Cornwalls because of the way audiences connected with the family.
“While the Cornwalls may be more quirky than most, it is their love and the values of their family that help them face any challenge that comes their way on this All Inclusive Cancun Christmas,” said Nattrass.
Playing the perfectly imperfect family are a cast of talented comedic actors: David Adams as Harry the too-frugal, but well-meaning, patriarch; Marlee Walchuk as mom Judy, a soft-hearted artist; Mack Gordon as Tommy their rowdy son who still has a lot to learn; Andrea Pizarro as Dalila, an ambitious resort attendant who catches Tommy’s eye; Emily Henney and Alexander Nicoll as doting newlyweds Sissy and Kyle; and Alen Dominguez as eager-to-please resort activity leader Fernando.
Tomasic, who is from Vancouver, said that finding herself in Chemainus again to direct a play “is a blast.”
“The play is based on the experiences of both Nicolle Nattrass and Mark DuMez, and is a sequel to the theatre’s Cornwall Country Side Christmas that was presented in 2011,” she said.
“Nicolle contributes her experience on a trip to Cancun, and Mark adds his most personal experiences of raising children. There’s something for everyone in the play and it’s a lot a lot of laughs.”
Tomasic said she really enjoys getting out of Vancouver and spending time working in Chemainus.
“The Chemainus Theatre is very supportive of everything we do, and the community loves what we do here, so it’s always an easy contract to take on,” she said.
“I find that the Theatre and community support us as artists more than Vancouver ever does. It’s one of my favourite places to work.”
All the merriment the play brings to the audience is boosted by a diverse range of holiday music.
Nico Rhodes, on keyboard, directs the live tunes, and is joined by Marisha Devoin on bass, and Brad Shipley on guitar.
Visiting the Cornwalls takes you back to the 80’s, courtesy of the festival’s production team whose colourful skills do the decade justice.
Designers include: Carolyn Rapanos (sets), Michelle Lieffertz (costumes), Conor Moore (lighting). Stage manager Nicole Lamb and assistant stage manager Koh McRadu complete the experience of bringing joy, music, peace, and love.
Whether you’ve met the Cornwalls at their cabin a few years back, or this is your first encounter, don’t miss this chance to escape your own holiday pressures and join them for a comical All-inclusive Cancun Christmas.
Matinee and evening shows for all-ages run Nov. 17 to Dec. 31.
Call the Box Office at 1-800-565-7738, or go to chemainustheatre.ca.
Show enhancements are available, and include: free “talk-backs” with the cast and crew following Wednesday performances, a special show-themed dinner in the Playbill Dining Room, and accommodation package at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn that includes a deluxe breakfast buffet, use of the indoor mineral pool, hot tub, and fitness centre.