Teatro la Quindicina: “On the Banks of the Nut”

Two weeks ago, Mack and I headed to the Varscona Theatre to check out the first production of the season from our favourite company – Teatro la Quindicina’s On the Banks of the Nut.

“…a plucky temp and affably inept federal talent agent [are] on a hare-brained talent quest in rural Wisconsin in 1951. Theirs is a madcap undertaking which involves pie, Mahler, bird-watching, embattled star-crossed lovers, a hapless lady tourist, and the abruptest civic election in history- all at the curiously appointed Nut River Lodge astride the noble banks of the River Nut.”

This play is another revival – from 2001 – and means that Teatro is drawing closer to restaging a play I may have seen in its original inception, as I started to follow the company around that time. I am also proud to say that we are season subscribers for a second year in a row.

Anyway, On the Banks of the Nut was most definitely a screwball comedy, and really asked the audience to suspend reason and logic on many levels. While I didn’t enjoy the storyline as much as other Teatro productions (though I had to chuckle at my favourite line, “Nut-ward ho!”), Kristen Padayas, who played the aforementioned temp Norine Cuthbert, was the shining star. I first saw Kristen in a mostly-forgettable role as a wealthy heiress in a Stewart Lemoine-penned MacEwan play, The Addelpated Nixie last March, then again a few months later in Space, a fun Fringe romp where she revelled in the role of a junior crew member. She was even better in On the Banks of the Nut – her comic timing and deadpan delivery put fellow cast member Eric Wigston (as the federal talent agent Pinkerton Sprague) to shame. I imagine she will be cast in more Teatro shows in the future, and I think she is a wonderful addition to the company! Mack and I also enjoyed Jeff Haslam (when don’t we?) – his hilarious accent and lovesick demeanour was fun to watch.

Next up for Teatro la Quindicina, the premier of  The Ambassador’s Wives, July 8-24, 2010, set in the French Riviera. It’s a great opportunity to get your feet wet in time for the Fringe in August!

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