Step on the gas, don’t let Test Drive at Rosehall Theatre pass you by.
Rosehall Theatre has got to be one of the nicest venues to spend a summer evening. Theatre goers are on risers under a large canopy close to the stage with a back drop of acres of Rosehall Run vines. The play put on by Festival Players could be a disaster but you’d still enjoy the view. Which is why, when I was told I could exchange my opening night tickets to Test Drive for later in the season, I bet on the view.
The problem was that the lead actor had left the show and his replacement, Douglas Hughes, had only had six days to prepare to take his place. The director, Sarah Phillips, confessed to the opening night crowd, she had absolutely no idea how the show would go but we were to expect some ad-libbing, surprises and even the odd whispered cue.
It didn’t happen, or if it did, all three actors were such consummate professionals that no one saw it. Doug Hughes owned the role of Earl Hughes, the AMC car dealer, and he had us eating out of the palm of his hand from the first scene when he died to the last scene when he finished dying. If there had been a parking lot full of Nash Ramblers, Metropolitans and Pacers we would all have driven away happy people at the end.
Fortunately for Hughes, he only had to be one character through the entire play. Alison Smyth played his wife, daughter, grand daughter, the femme fatale, the spirit of his car, and an irate driver. Andrew Perun played his father-in-law, son, son-in-law, an MC, a policeman, and a driver’s test examiner. The movement of the actors as they switched roles mid conversations from one character to another was hysterical.
During intermission, we got to test drive Rosehall Run’s Sullyzwicker white, unoaked pinot noir or rosé and buy assorted yummies from the Picnic food truck. The lavender donut holes were especially good. Because it was opening night there was also a reception after the show with local treats that are sold at the Greer Road Grocer, Rosehall Run’s retail store including pickled artichokes, herbed shortbread, olives and oysters and a complimentary glass of Rosehall Run wine.
This is the second Festival Players performance I’ve viewed this summer, the first had been Weaksauce a one night show in the Sunday Series at Huff Estates. Click here to see the list of other performances in the Sunday Series. Radio 30 completed its run at Mount Tabor Theatre at the end of July. Test Drive runs from August 5 -24 at Rosehall Theatre every weekday except Monday with evening shows starting at 6:30 pm and afternoon matinées starting at 1:30 pm on Fridays and Sundays.
The Festival Players young company’s All for Beaver Hats by David S. Craig is being performed at a number of venues around the County including Fifth Town Cheese, Bloomfield Mill Pond, Sandbanks Village, Campbell’s Orchards and Ameliasburg Museum. All young company performances start at 11:00 am at a cost of $10 + HST except for the SandBanks Village performances which are ‘pay what you can.’ Click here for performance dates
I’d been putting off visiting Rosehall Run this summer because I knew I’d come to the play. The Sullyzwicker white is a very affordable pleasant white that I never buy because I don’t mind spending the extra for Dan Sullivan’s lovely chardonnays, the unoaked pinot noir was also great for the price, but you really should have a sip of the oaked before you make up your mind which to buy. The rosé, mostly gamay with a dollop of pinot noir is totally delicious and perfect for summer sipping.
There was only one thing missing from the performance – mosquitos – no one was complaining.
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