BY BILL PHILLIPS
When David Talbot found out what Miracle Theatre is all about, he jumped at the chance to be a part of it.
The Toronto-based actor plays Wally Smith in Miracle Theatre’s production of The Fabulous Lipitones, March 2-18 at Artspace.
“I’m here because Ted Price and Anne Laughlin asked me to come and do the show,” says Talbot. “When they told me about the show and why they’re going to do it, I really couldn’t say ‘no.’”
Miracle Theatre was created a couple of years ago by Ted Price and Anne Laughlin, who staged a performance of Miracle on South Division Street, raising $42,000 for the Salvation Army Food Bank and 27 Million Voices.
They did it again last year with a production of The Last Romance, which raised $52,000 for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.
This year’s production of The Fabulous Lipitones is to aid the United Way and the goal is to raise $60,000.
That convinced Talbot, who started his theatre career at the age of eight years old in a production of Oliver at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, to join. It wasn’t until a few years later that started acting full time and became a professional actor in 1980. He’s done a lot of musical theatre and he worked with Second City in Toronto for about two-and-a-half years.
“That’s where I learned how to write and improvise and do comedy.”
The Fabulous Lipitones is an uplifting comedy by John Markus, winner of both the Emmy and Peabody awards, and Mark St. Germain, winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Lucille Lortel award for outstanding playwriting.
It is about four middle-aged ‘wannabe stars’ who have the big dream of winning the Grand Barber Shop Quartet championships. But in the middle of the semifinals, their leader keels over after trying to reach a note too far.
Shortly thereafter, they happen to hear the marvelous singing of the local service station’s new mechanic. Little do the Lipitones know that what they think they are hearing is something and someone entirely different than what they imagine.
The new recruit is brought in for a tryout and that’s where the fun begins.
Talbot’s character, Wally Smith, is struggling with a lot of different things, he lives with his mother, and has never had a serious relationship.
“He’s a nerd, basically,” says Talbot. “But he’s really fun … all the four people who are in it all have some quirky aspect of their character that makes them fun and funny.”
It’s about a barbershop quartet so there will be singing and Talbot says the four actors, who have never acted together before, pull it off.
“The harmonies and the singing are really tight,” he says. “I think people are going to be entertained and pleasantly surprised with how good it sounds.”
There is some physical comedy in the performance, as well, nothing too major, but “things happen to me that requires me to stumble around a bit,” says Talbot.
Talbot, who has been in Prince George for about two weeks now, says most of his time has been spent in rehearsals. There is a tight timeline for the cast and crew, but they do get to see the city a little bit.
“The thing that strikes me most of all about Prince George is how friendly and welcoming people have been to everyone in the cast.”
The Fabulous Lipitones will be in Artspace, above Books & Co. It’s a small space for theatre, but that small space makes it a very intimate setting.
“It’s perfect for this show,” says Talbot. “There are no microphones, there’s no programmed sound. It’s just these four voices. It’s a really intimate space and people will respond to that. It’s a really good show for this space.”
The play runs from March 2-18. Performances will be every night except Mondays and there will be Sunday matinees.
Tickets are $32 and are available at Books and Co. – in person or by phone.
Talbot urges everyone to come out and enjoy the show.
“It’s been a long winter, there’s lots of snow on the ground. When people walk in they’re going laugh and they’re going to be entertained in a way that they might not have expected. We’re ready and I hope the audience is ready to have a lot of fun.”