Kitchen sink drama takes a darkly comic look at family dysfunction

Langley Players present the spring production, 'Escape From Happiness.'

Cloverdale’s Shane Rochon and Judith Betzler of Maple Ridge in a scene from ‘Escape from Happiness.’

Escape From Happiness, a funny, black, slice-of-life comedy by George F. Walker, is the Langley Players’ spring production, on stage to the middle of next month.

Set in the kitchen of a rundown house in a not-so-classy part of a large city, Escape From Happiness tells the  story of a dysfunctional family, the Quinns.

The house is home to Nora, an oddball, middle-aged woman; her three (neurotic) daughters, and an older man who may or may not be the girls’ father. They’re thrown into crisis, thanks to two criminals of questionable intelligence and two police officers who approach policing from different perspectives.

Director Helen Embury was drawn to the play because of the endearing characters, realistically rendered by Walker.

“As they struggle against the world out there, they are not always successful,” Embury says. “And yet as we empathize with their predicaments, we can’t help but laugh at their off-the-wall logic.”

It’s the first time Langley Players have produced a George F. Walker play, and Embury says audiences are in for a drama with many twists and turns.

Walker is one of Canada’s best-known and celebrated playwrights, earning two Governor-General’s performing arts awards for drama (‘Criminals in Love,’ and ‘Nothing Sacred’) and another G.G. for lifetime artistic achievement.

The gritty but entertaining dark comedy is the Langley Players’ entry in the 2015 Fraser Valley Zone festival, running May 17 to 23 at the Langley Playhouse.

Until then, it’s running Thursdays to Sundays to May 16 at  the Langley Playhouse, 4307 200 Street, in Brookswood.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Patrons should be aware the play contains some coarse language. For reservations, visit langleyplayers.com/reservations.html, or buy tickets online at brownpapertickets.com/producer/133005.

Email reservations@langleyplayers.com or call 604-534-7469.

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