The Mumberley Inheritance – a review by Elizabeth Allen
If your Christmas season normally includes a good old-fashioned English pantomime but your pocketbook can’t take Toronto theatre prices, The Mumberley Inheritance, which is OnStage Uxbridge’s first offering for its 2017-2018 season, will fit the bill nicely.
“Buckle your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride” may just be this show’s unofficial motto. From the opening scene through to one of the most mad-cap chase scenes I’ve seen staged in a long while, The Mumberley Inheritance, written by Warren Graves, is an over-the-top romp/period piece/farce/melodrama, all rolled up in one. Director Phil Cook has gathered his cast and let them loose in this zany production, resulting in lots of laughs.
Kevin Fleetwood brings his wonderful physicality to the role of Roger Mumberley, the aging, befuddled family patriarch who has squandered the family fortune by gambling. His son Jack, played by Jeremy Cook, departed years ago for the wilds of Canada in search of clues to a treasure said to be hidden on the family estate. Rebekah Kennedy shines as Daphne, the ingénue seeking love and the restoration of her father’s fortune. She has her heart set on Rodney Stoutheart (played by Kyle Roberts) but it seems the lovers’ plans are to be thwarted…
Marmaduke Mayhem (Chad Richard), villain extraordinaire, arrives with a plan of his own—to marry Daphne and find the fabled inheritance even if he must take down every stone of the venerable manor to do so. He is aided in his efforts by Crispin Cringe (Anita Vuorijarvi) and nurse Polly Dumpling (Jacqueline Lalonde), both forced to do his bidding because of the power he holds over them. Dotty the maid (Janet Gilliland) rounds out the cast. Some of the actors are much stronger in their roles than others, but the silliness of the plot and the necessity for melodrama makes weaker acting excusable.
The set is lovely, and makes the Uxbridge Music Hall stage look huge. The sturdy flight of stairs gets used a great deal, and there is lots of space to run around and chase bad guys. There’s even a secret tunnel – no spoiler here, though! Lighting is used effectively – flashing lights during high-energy scenes, impromptu spots on characters that regularly break the fourth wall – it all adds to the fun.
Will Daphne be forced to marry Marmaduke? Can anyone save her from such a terrible fate? And what of Jack, her brother, gone for six long years (be sure to remember that!)? Will he return in time? Will anyone find the treasure? Can anyone stop the evil Marmaduke? For answers to these and other questions, go see The Mumberley Inheritance. You won’t say “Curses!” if you do. And in the style of a panto, audience members are encouraged to boo, hiss, and cheer for the folks on stage. You will definitely have fun!
OnStage Uxbridge presents The Mumberley Inheritance at the Uxbridge Music Hall November 16-25, 2017. Tickets are $24 and are available online at www.starticketing.com and at Sugar FX.
Bach Christmas Oratorio to be performed in Uxbridge
On Sunday, November 26, at 7 p.m., St. Paul’s Anglican Church will host a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. The performance will be in English. The Orpheus Symphonietta orchestra and Cantorei sine Nomine choir, under the direction of Stuart Beaudoin, along with soloists, Sasha Liebich-Tait, Shannon Coates, Colin Ainsworth and Jonathan Liebich, will sing this marvelous setting of the Christmas story.
St. Paul’s Anglican is embarking on a series of events that seek to combine and explore spirituality and music. Canon Mark Kinghan is excited to bring alternate ways of engaging the divine through the arts into the Uxbridge community. During this past fall, two chamber concerts were presented, and for Remembrance Day, it featured a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #5. The Bach Christmas Oratorio is the capstone of this launch.
Director Stu gives some insight into the project: In Christendom, Handel’s Messiah (1741) and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (1734) stand as the musical pillars of the Christmas season. Messiah is actually Easter music. The Christmas Oratorio is a series of six cantatas telling the story of the coming of Jesus, the shepherds, the magi and their significance to us. This is all in the tradition of many musical works composed before 1734, as well as more modern musical presentations.
Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is not often performed in English, being mostly performed in its original German. This performance uses a fine English translation to make the music and story accessible to the listener.
Stu says, “Bach is often thought of as heavy, detailed and difficult to listen to, but in this music he seems to be dancing for the whole program. Choruses are always upbeat and exciting, orchestra colors tell the story in sound, the soloists give us the scripture in the recitatives and commentary in the fabulous solos. It is a Christmas musical experience not to be missed. Your ears will be full!”
Tickets are $20 and are available: online: https://starticketing.com/tktweb/; from: Sugar FX, 13
Brock Street West, Uxbridge; by telephone: 866-808-2006; tickets can also be purchased at the door.