Henry and Alice Into the Wild: This camp earns its laughs

Henry and Alice Into the Wild
By Michele Riml
Director: Simon Joynes
Set Design: Eric Bunnell
Lighting Design: Traveis Hatt
Costume Design: Lani Martel
Asst. Stg. Manager: Grace Batten
Featuring: Jim Doucette, Danielle Nicole, Donna Garner
June 12th – July 6th
Port Stanley festival Theatre
BOX OFFICE 519.782.4353
www.portstanleytheatre.ca

NOTE: ADULT LANGUAGE

Henry and Alice Into the Wild is the much awaited sequel to last season's Sexy Laundry. Henry & Alice: Into the Wild stars Jim Doucette and Danielle Nicole, last year’s wonderful Henry and Alice. Donna Garner brings the crazy and the spice as Alice’s sexually adventurous sister.

Henry and Alice are forced to examine their relationship away from the often-welcome distractions at home. They are alone together in the ‘wilderness’, well, a campsite on a well-populated lake. Alice’s idea of roughing it is a well-appointed cottage with a spa near-by, but she has come armed with cashmere. Their adventure includes: collapsing tents, high winds, and visits from strange creatures, uninvited guests, skinny-dipping and food that astronauts would throw back. Will their marriage survive this journey off the grid? That is the question.

We loved last season’s Sexy Laundry by Michele Rimi. It was hilarious, over-the-top perfection for Doucette and Nicole who are adept at physical comedy, incredibly likeable and have a wonderful sense of comic timing. We were looking forward to another night of rollicking laughter, but this time things had changed. Henry has lost his job, lost his role as the breadwinner, lost a lot of his pension – lost, it seems, their future. With their foundation knocked out from under our main characters, the laughter, when it comes is gentle, more contemplative.

Lesleigh: Eric Bunnel’s set is wonderful. He is really creative and imaginative. The green abstract trees were my favorite part. They had a ‘group of seven’ feel to them and lent the set a lovely feel of movement. During a ghost story, the shadows they cast could have been creatures in the woods, dancers; the only limit was our imagination.

Trish: When I saw the set, I hoped that it involved assembling a tent while on stage. Something about that made it feel real, like we were flies on the wall. (I thought there should be a bug or two). I wasn’t disappointed. Knowing this was a couple who usually opt for the cottage – watching them try and set up camp added to the fun.

Lesleigh: Another inventive part to the set is that the characters dress it as they arrive. Each piece that a character brings with them tells the audience something about that person and how they encounter the ‘wilderness’.

Trish: I really appreciated the attention to detail with the set pieces and everything was as they described it. The pottery barn bags, tent directions only as pictures and opening the “Camping For Dummies” book to the ‘How to make a fire’ page. The costumes also added to each character’s wilderness experience, or lack of it. I think they could have embellished Alice’s costume…had some fun with it. Her outfit looked too outdoorsy for someone who enjoys finer sleeping accommodations and has no idea what camping involves.

Lesleigh: Jim Doucette has the bluest eyes, did you notice that? There is something so endearing about Henry/Jim that you want to listen to his story, you secretly cheer him on and hope the tale has a happy ending. I hoped that the phone-call he receives is his boss telling him it was all a mistake. Hope that he never again has to do the “Slide of Shame”.

Trish: I could relate with Alice and how overwhelming the idea of finding work after being a mother for the past 20+ years…let me rephrase that – after working from the home in the demanding role of a mother/wife/cook etc….There are parts of this story that ring true to real life and people can relate and maybe even realize ‘they are not alone’.

Lesleigh: One of my favorite moments in this non-musical was a beautiful harmony with all three characters by the fire. I enjoyed all of the physical comedy by the lovely Danielle Nicole as well as her belief in the reliability of her one book, Camping for Dummies.

Trish: I wish they pulled out the Camping for Dummies book more often. My favorite use of this book was during the bear scene!

Lesleigh: Donna Garner bounds on to the stage with unbridled enthusiasm, an amazing costume, and crackling, sexual energy that never quits. Her role is the catalyst – for better or worse she is going to spur Henry and Alice to action, to talking, to re-thinking their lives. I loved the energy she brought to the stage and to the show. Two of my favorite lines, “John and I are taking a break.” …Henry: “He’s in Jail.”

Trish: I appreciated Garner’s entrance as it brought new energy to the play. Regardless of the efforts of the cast, the story felt like it was dragging and benefitted by her arrival.

Lesleigh: I think the majority of the audience, like us, were expecting the kind of hilarity we experienced last year in Sexy Laundry. Last night at the end of the show there was appreciative applause and contemplative silence on the way out of the theatre.

Trish: It wasn’t as humorous as last year’s production but I believe that it will earn its own laughs and the hard work by everyone involved will be appreciated by audiences who attend.

  /   4

Lesleigh Turner is always happy to give her opinion on a myriad of topics. Ha. She has been involved in theatre since, well, since London Community Players was on York Street. Favorite projects include acting in Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (LCP), Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (LCP),  Moon Over Buffalo (LCP), Pride and Prejudice  (Toronto), Child on Her Mind (London and Newfoundland) and Her Wake (Pacheco Theatre). She has directed numerous shows including Opera Comique with Brian March, Modern Tragedy, Barefoot in The Park (LCP), Country of My Skin (Cornelia Hoogland), Agnes of God (Theatre Soup) and most recently Jenny's House of Joy for Theatre Soup. She loves all things and all people theatre.


Trish West is excited to have the opportunity to join Elgin Theatre Guild doing something new while bringing their previous show Old Love by Norm Foster to London Sept 19 - 21st at The Arts Project and will be jumping in right after to join AlvergoRoot's production of Press Cuttings by Bernard Shaw Oct 30-Nov 2nd. This summer Trish will be busy creating art pieces to be used as the adjudicator's awards in this year’s London One Act Festival November 4-10, 2013. Plans for her own play Skin Deep are well underway and she is continually amazed at the support and interest that is gathering while preparing it to take the stage at TAP Mar 31- April 5th, 2014.


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