Sebastien Galina photo Sabrielle McCurdy-Foreman, Ella Storey and Steven Simpson are the versatile cast members of Beach House Theatre’s 2019 daytime show, Love You Forever and More Munsch, which runs Aug. 14-17 at the company’s tent stage on Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach.

Beach House offers quirky, emotional – and family-friendly – show in South Surrey

Love You Forever and More Munsch will resonate with children and adults alike

One of the Peninsula’s enduring summertime attractions – Beach House Theatre – is returning to the world of beloved children’s author Robert Munsch for its daytime, family-oriented production this year.

And actor/director Ian Harmon – son of Beach House co-founder and co-director Rick Harmon – is back to helm the production, which will have a brief four-performance run Aug. 14-17 on the company’s temporary tent stage at Blackie Spit (Crescent Beach).

Love You Forever and More Munsch is Stephen Colella and Sue Miner’s adaptation of the author’s emotionally loaded paean to parenthood, Love You Forever plus four sure-fire, typically quirky and humorous Munsch classics: Mortimer (about a boy who simply will not go to bed); Murmel, Murmel, Murmel (the story of girl who finds a baby in a sandbox); The Paper Bag Princess (in which a fairy-tale heroine faces down a dragon) and Zoom (about a disabled girl with a super-wheelchair).

The 11 a.m. shows are around an hour long (with no intermission) and will be followed by a question period and autograph session – always popular with younger audiences – but limited seating for Beach House shows makes early booking advisable.

As with the company’s previous annual daytime shows, it’s an exercise in imagination, characterization – and sheer stamina – for a small company of versatile actors; in this case Steven Simpson, Ella Storey and Peninsula born-and-raised performer/producer Sabrielle McCurdy-Foreman (daughter of well-known Peninsula singer and educator Heidi McCurdy).

The Cloverdale-raised Harmon has plenty of experience both onstage and offstage with the idiom, including touring with young-audience-oriented shows for Green Thumb Theatre, Kaleidoscope and Axis Theatre, for whom he acted in Hamelin: A New Fable in 2017.

The last time he directed at Beach House, it was also a Munsch play, he noted.

“That was The Three Munschketeers in 2014,” he said.

“I’m fond of his work – I grew up reading it. I think it’s something that everybody in the family – at all ages – can get into.”

And being familiar with the territory of this style of production, he knows exactly what he’s asking of his actors, he said.

“For the actor, there are so many characters you have to play – and they all have to be completely different and have outrageous characteristics that will carry from the front row to the back row.

“It’s also a high-energy piece for the actors – because of all the changes, it’s a complete workout. If you’re not sweating by the end of the show, you’re not doing your job properly.”

Fortunately, he has no fears about the strong cast he’s working with.

“They’re all excellent,” he said. “Steve is a gifted actor, Ella has an amazing comedy sense and Sabrielle is a delight – a very committed theatre person, who also works as a co-producer with another company in Vancouver.”

Harmon said that directing such a show doesn’t tempt him to get up on stage and show his actors what he wants – he’s able to separate the job from his own acting, and look at it from a very different perspective, he added.

“The way I work as a director, I give my cast so much freedom to explore and create – I never want to handcuff an actor. I don’t want to see it done how I would do it on stage, I want to know, ‘what’s your perspective on the show?”

Harmon’s creative process on the show has also been influenced, he acknowledges, by the fact that he is now a parent – he and his wife Breanne have a 20-month-old son, Emmett.

“Parenthood is definitely giving me a different perspective on the material, and it’s why I wanted to go back to doing a piece like this, after having done so much touring,” he said.

It’s also colouring his approach to the core piece of the current show – Love You Forever, Munsch’s heartfelt rumination on the devotion of parents throughout their lives, and the lives of their children.

“It’s one of the ones that adults, in particular, have become sentimentally attached to,” he said.

“I’ve had some people who’ve heard we’re doing this who’ve said, ‘Oh boy, I don’t know if I can handle this.’

“If you have kids, it does evoke quite a bit of emotion about the circle-of-life aspect. It’s going to be quite interesting to stage it in the middle of a high-energy show.”

But it does come in the middle, Harmon underlines – which allows plenty of time for the lighter aspects of Munsch’s writing to carry the audience, young and old alike, along to a happy conclusion.

“I think the show is quite balanced,” he said.

“It does have emotional bits, but they’re woven into a piece that kids are going to love.”

For tickets and information, visit beachhousetheatre.org

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

File photo Ian Harmon returns to Beach House Theatre to direct Love You Forever, and More Munsch.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Southridge students raise $5,600 for hospital meal program

GoFundMe campaign funds two months of meals at Peace Arch Hospital

Surrey kids get cooking during free SuperChefs camps pushed online by pandemic

‘Enthusiastic’ launch of program, which sees ingredient pickup at one local school

Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

In both cases, Brigitte Bergeron’s vehicle was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection

Surrey RCMP searching for missing woman last seen in Crescent Beach

Milcah Kasomali-Chirumbwana last seen at 4:35 p.m. July 5 in the 12300-block of Beecher Street

Drive-in theatre inspires Langley pastor to create similar church service

Jericho Ridge Community Church tried out the concept Sunday, and will do it again Aug. 2

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read