A teacher at Maple Ridge Christian School and his former student are reuniting in Theatre in the Country’s latest production.
Instructor Reg Parks and former student Josh Osborne will be taking to the stage for one week as characters Milo and Andrew in the suspenseful thriller Sleuth by Anthony Shaffer.
“Josh was one of the top theatre students I ever taught,” explained Parks, adding that they stayed in touch after Osborne’s graduation, through the dinner theatre company that Parks started in 2011 in the old school gym of Whonnock elementary that later became the North Fraser Events Centre. Now, Theatre in the Country is located in Langley.
Both Parks and Osborne were involved in a performance of Sleuth a decade ago at MRCS – Parks as the director, and Osborne as an actor.
“When COVID hit and we were looking for shows with smaller casts, I said Josh, why don’t we do a 10-year anniversary of Sleuth,” he said.
They both took on roles as directors this time around, said Parks, noting that they also jumped on a unique experience to have associate artistic director of the Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver, Stephen Drover, spend time with them to give them tips on the performance, paid for by Theatre B.C.
Drover spent five hours with the Sleuth cast last Sunday.
A lot of the crew for Sleuth are also from either Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, including technical director Graham Coates, house stage manager Dayna Horn, and lighting designer Michaela Freeman.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the theatre company managed to produce 35 shows – about 28 of those were Zoom shows. The rest were low-cast shows in the fall of last year during a nine-week period they were allowed to be open.
“It’s impressive how much of this show is Maple Ridge-based,” said Parks about Sleuth.
And, he said, technically it is the longest running show in the history of the company due to it being suspended on the final sold-out weekend last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s why they are remounting the show now, to honour the tickets that were bought last year.
The story centres around a successful mystery author , Andrew Wyke, and Milo Tindle, a young man that runs a travel agency in London. Wyke invites Tindle over to his house and on page three of the play he says to Tindle, “I understand you want to marry my wife”.
“That kind of gets the whole ball rolling,” said Parks.
Then, Wyke tries to convince Tindle that his wife-to-be has expensive tastes and that he should conspire with him to steal some of Wyke’s old jewellery so they can defraud the insurance company.
“As you go along, you figure out the why’s, the wherefore’s, and then the turns and the twists, the deceits and the betrayals, it just kind of cascades into a lot of game playing,” Parks explained.
The play was made into two movies both starring Michael Caine. In 1972 Caine shared the screen with Lawrence Olivier, and in 2007 it was Jude Law taking the younger role.
“Acting with Josh is a real treat,” said Parks.
“Finding different things to do in it from the original was a lot of fun,” he continued, adding that since they are performing for an adult audience this time, Parks and his team were able to insert additional language and themes back in the play that were pulled out for the high school audience.
“Which kind of pushes the stakes of the thing quite a bit higher,” he said.
Sleuth runs from Aug. 11-14 at the theatre at 5708 Glover Rd. in Langley.
The theatre is still only running at 50 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 protocols.
Dinner theatre tickets include a full roast beef dinner with all the fixings and dessert. Vegetarian options are available as well.
Tickets are also available for the show only.
To purchase tickets go to theatreinthecountry.com or call 604-259-9737
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