March 13, 2014

Does Whisky make you Mad?

Lagavulin 16 - one of the whiskies served at last week's Bachelor Party
Now that I have your attention, I'll shamelessly admit that I brought you here to learn about something other than whisky.
As the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada will benefit from any direct action on your part, I make no apologies for this ruse!

In about three weeks, I'll be joining a jolly group of about 40 thespians of The Savoy Society of Ottawa on stage at the Algonquin Commons Theatre for a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta - Ruddygore. I'll be playing the wonderfully ludicrous part of Mad Margaret, one of an outrageous cast of characters who sing and act their way through a zany plot with great music.

Mad Margaret (me), Sir Despard Murgatroyd (Stuart MacKinnon) in Ruddigore (1990) at Centrepointe Theatre.
Here's the synposis............... 
The Baronets of Ruddygore have been cursed by a witch. Each Baronet must commit a crime a day - or die in torture. To escape his dreadful fate, Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd disguises himself as Robin Oakapple, a farmer. Robin Oakapple is in love and wants to marry - but his future plans appear doomed when his true identity is revealed. 

Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a handful of operettas back in the 1800's. The more well known ones are HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. The Savoy Society has been around since 1975 and has performed all of the 12 main Gilbert and Sullivan works on a quasi revolving basis.
As I've been with Savoy, on and off, since 1981 (ouch!), I've performed in four different Ruddigore productions over the years, playing three different roles. It's been - eh - a few years since I last played Mad Margaret.

My sons - one now an Engagement Manager at a Management Consulting Company and the other the Co-Founder and Artistic Designer of a clothing company.
Back in 1887, when it was first performed, audiences were shocked by the title Ruddygore, and it was subsequently renamed to the more obscure Ruddigore. The stage director for this production, the talented and knowledgeable Richard Langlois, decided to create an authentic production, using the original name. 127 years later, my local community centre seems reluctant to put up a poster! Checkout the link on Richard's name for a You Tube rehearsal clip.
For all the goriness of the title, this production is a delightful and highly entertaining romp, in a beautiful new theatre, with some extremely talented folks on stage. And the Children's Wish Foundation will be the beneficiary of donations to the wishing wells, as well as a donation from Savoy. Over the years, approximately $80,000 has been contributed in this way to worthy causes like Children's Wish.   
Pirates of Penzance 2008 Ruth (me), Frederic (Gavan Quinn), Pirate King (Rejean Dinelle-Mayer)
Photo Spencer Studio.
Performances are on April 3rd (7:30pm), April 4th (7:30pm), April 5th (2pm and 7:30pm) and April 6th (2pm). Tickets are available online at the theatre website or in person at the Algonquin Commons Theatre Box Office located at E104 in the Student Commons building. Tickets (including fees and taxes) are $36.50 for adults and $19 for children 12 and under. 
Do come out and see the show - and then go home and have a nice dram or glass of wine. That's what Mad Margaret will be doing!

Check back soon for Mad Whisky events during April, May and June!