A secret son, career-making speeches and lies, lies and more lies – just something that runs in the family for the latest offering at the Drayton Festival Theatre this month.
In It Runs in the Family, Rob McClure plays Dr. David Mortimer, a highly thought-of neurosurgeon with a less-than-savoury past.
Nineteen years after the fact, Nurse Tate, a character from Dr. Mortimer’s past, reappears with some news: he has a son.
“She shows up at the hospital and I am in the middle of rehearsing an important speech, and she informs me that I have a son from 19 years earlier,” said McClure. “The whole play is about trying to keep this a secret from my wife. And of course, my son shows up and wants to meet his father. All these little lies add up. It is a madcap farce, really. There are windows and doors and people are flying through them.”
The play, written by Ray Cooney and first performed in 1990, is all about getting laughs from the audience, and according to McClure, that translates during rehearsals as well.
“It is extraordinary. The cast is really very funny and we spend a lot of our time laughing on stage,” he said about rehearsals.
He hopes the show will also give the audience a little break from the stresses and challenges of everyday life.
“The news is very bad these days. The world is in a terrible way and I think our intention is just to hand people two hours of laughter, let them feel relaxed, and just have a great time in the theatre,” he said. “That is why I love comedies. I think we need to laugh. It is absolutely necessary for your mental and physical health.”
Although the play deals with some mature themes such as adultery, McClure says the show is definitely suitable for the whole family.
“There is nothing really untoward about it. It is really for the whole family. The kids will enjoy it just for the running about and the wheelchairs flying through and people on gurneys and things like that. Things aren’t presented in a way that is inappropriate for a child,” he shared. “I did the show 12 years ago for Drayton. My son was eight at the time and he watched it many times, and none of the innuendos got to him. He just loved all the physical humour – there is lots of falling down.”
Helping round out the cast are theatre veterans, all perfectly cast in their roles, says McClure.
“Rosemary Mortimer is played by the wonderful Susan Gilmour who is a fantastic singer as well. She appeared in Les Miserables.
My nurse, Nurse Tate, who drops the bombshell on me, is played by Amanda Leigh. She is very, very funny,” he said. “My son, Leslie, is played by Gregory Pember. I have never worked with him before, but he is just dynamo. He gets on that stage and just blows me away.”
The Drayton Entertainment production of It Runs in the Family starts up on July 20, and runs until Aug. 6 at the Drayton Festival Theatre. Tickets start at $26 and can be purchased by visiting www.draytonentertainment.com, or by calling the box office at 1-855-372-9866.