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Dead body, politics part of wacky Bowden dinner theatre

The two-act comedy is a fundraiser to help cover upkeep of the Paterson Community Centre and hopefully eventually pave its parking lot.

BOWDEN — Chaos reigned May 3 and 4 in the Paterson Community Centre as The Bowden Town Theatre presenteed No Body Like Jimmy, a two-act dinner theatre by Burton Bumgarner.

It’s a fundraiser to help cover upkeep of the hall and hopefully eventually pave its parking lot.

JoAnne Keevill, who is co-directing the play along with Alahna Hunter, says the comedy was a lot of fun to rehearse and stage.

“It’s a farce,” she said during an interview with the Albertan. “It’s about two characters that aren’t that bright that bring a dead body into a good party, like a very high-end party.

“And it’s about and how all of the guests and the other characters interact with this dead body, not realizing that he’s a real dead body.”

Keevill said the play is especially intriguing to stage because the “body” has to be a live person, not a stuffed doll or dummy, “so It’ll be fun,” she said.

And the person playing the body is a woman, even though the body is male. That adds another element to it.

On top of that, the “body” has the challenge of remaining still, not moving even an eyelash throughout the entire play.

On the other hand, there is an advantage to playing that character.

“No lines. She was quite happy with that,” Keevill said with a light laugh.

Kevill said the troupe chose the play back in January.

“We were trying to do something a little bit different than what the players have done the last couple of years,” she said.

“This one’s a little bit more of a slapstick comedy without the slapstick. It’s all about timing and funny and lines.

“The last couple of years we were kind of a little bit more hillbillyish and we wanted to move away from that, to break out of that.”

She agreed it’s a lot like a British farce.

Another difference is the size of the cast.

Kevill said last year’s play had a cast of about 15 people, some of whom played more than one role. She said this year’s play features nine characters, plus the body.

The body shows up at a fundraising party for a woman who is running for member of the legislature (MLA).

“We’ve got a guy, he’s such a bumbling guy that he gets caught up in the Mob and ends up with the body.

“And it’s just the whole story around how this body got there. Who killed (that person)? Why is he there? We’ve got police officers that come in. It’s just a great comedy,” Keevill said.

She said the play lasts about 80 minutes, not including time for the supper.

Kim Urichuk, who manages the Bowden Community Centre and bookings for the facility, is one of the actors in the play.

In fact, she plays the politician hoping to be elected MLA.

“My character is out of character for me,” she said. “She’s uptight, very formal.”

In addition to the play, the evening included a prime rib meal, cash bar, dessert table and a silent auction.

For years, the St. Andrew’s Players used to stage dinner theatres in Bowden.

They were founded by the late Norm Westman (who also served as the group’s executive director) as a fundraiser for St. Andrew’s United Church, which closed down a few years ago. The group then transitioned to become the Bowden Town Theatre.

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