Mark DuMez as Muskrat reminds everyone why he’s artistic director at the Chemainus Theatre . (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Side-splitting fun for everyone at Chemainus Theatre’s ‘Lumberjacks in Love’

Songs, dances, ridiculous cliches, silly story: what more do you want in a musical?

What’s a lumberjack in love?

“He’s a fish outta water, he’s an itch you can’t scratch,” sing the shanty gang at Haywire logging camp as the Chemainus Theatre Festival presents the hilarious musical Lumberjacks in Love until Nov. 2.

Every logger cliche you’ve ever heard or dreamed about during a bout of delerium is whirling round the stage in this delightful and ridiculous show, which had the audience howling with laughter on opening night, and that is packing houses at the theatre as its short run continues.

Minnesota Slim (Gaelan Beatty), Muskrat (Mark DuMez), Dirty Bob (Andrew Legg), and Moonlight (Felix LeBlanc) along with The Kid (Cate Richardson) make up the camp’s visible crew, who are thrown into a tizzy with the news that a mail order bride is coming to join them, and Rose (Alison MacDonald) enters the scene later to stir the pot even more.

Director Melissa Berger wouldn’t let anything drag, so this show moves along swiftly, combining great funny songs and likeable characters into a fun evening out for rain-weary theatre fans.

And the songs?

Listen for ‘Buncha Naked Lumberjacks’, ‘Little Black Rain Cloud’, ‘Someday I Will Be Clean’, ‘Bachelor’s Prayer’, ‘Little Dress’, ‘Winds of Morning’, ‘Love, Love, Love, Love’, and lots more.

With this super cast, you can hear every word of the tunes, which is a good thing, because they are funny and also move the storyline along.

A girl hiding disguised among a group of men is an idea that goes back at least as far as Shakespeare but Richardson is so engaging that she carries if off with flair. Her first scenes as a “lady” are some of the funniest in the show but dainty little MacDonald really struts her stuff, too, making the most of her limited stage time after she makes her entrance as Rose.

Everyone sings, everyone dances, and all the actors play some kind of instrument, picking them up unobtrusively and blending it all together so you hardly notice there’s only a limited official orchestra.

Longtime Chemainus fans will delight in watching DuMez, the Festival’s artistic director, thoroughly enjoying his role as Muskrat, displaying a whole handful of musical talents, and kicking up his heels in the dance numbers but LeBlanc, Beatty, and Legg each have their opportunities for solos, too, giving the crowd the chance to hear their fine voices, and playing, singing, and hoofing fit to bring the house down.

This writer predicts that we’ll see Lumberjacks in Love brought back by popular demand before long.

Contact the theatre today at chemainustheatre.ca or 1-800-565-7738 to see if there are any tickets still available.

 

Gaelan Beatty as Minnesota Slim is in dire straits: a ‘pal’ has lined him up with a mail-order bride. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Andrew Legg presents Dirty Bob as a surprising and sympathetic character. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Moonlight (Felix LeBlanc) emerges as the romantic hero of ‘Lumberjacks in Love’ but at first he doesn’t know what’s hit him. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

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