ATP’s The New Canadian Curling Club delivers laughs while looking at the diversity of this country’s culture

The latest in Caroline Russell-King’s postcard reviews is ATP’s newest production, The New Canadian Curling Club.

Show: The New Canadian Curling Club.

Playwright(s): Mark Crawford.

Production company/theatre space: Alberta Theatre Projects, Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons.

Length: Two acts (Two hours, 30 minutes, one intermission).

Genre(s): Situational comedy.

Premise: Four diverse immigrants form a curling team under the coaching of an older white Canadian of Scottish descent, and bump up against each other like rocks on the ice.

Why this play? Why now?: It would seem that we are still at this awkward stage of development in our collective Canadian culture.

Curiosities: I wondered how toe-curling it was in rehearsal for Duval Lang to say those lines out loud at the first table read. I am curious how new Canadians will react to the show. At a time when ATP (and indeed, all theatre) needs to broaden their audience base, I wonder if this is the formula (even though I have a bias for politics through humour).

Notable lines: “What are we going to do about Stuart?” and, “… seven generations of Scottish supremacy.”

Notable writing: Fortunately the bigger laughs come from laughing at the racist rather than the racist lines, in this Archie-Bunker-meets-the-underdog sports-team trope.

Notable performances: Jenni Burke’s eyes express maybe better comebacks than some of the retorts she has been given. Richard Young’s poignancy just under the surface stops his character from being a stereotype.

Notable design/production: Scott Reid’s set is perfect, as always, and Peter Moller’s choice of iconic Canadian classics sets the right tone.

Notable direction: For all the weighty topics buried beneath frothy fun, Darcy Evans directs this comedy with a suitably light hand. I think ATP is in good hands. Also, the pre- and post-show audience immersive touches are delightful.

One reason to see this show: Good laughs and Timbits!

(Cast members of The New Canadian Curling Club at Alberta Theatre Projects courtesy Benjamin Laird. Set by Scott Reid, lights by Daniela Masellis and costumes by Melissa Mitchell.)

The New Canadian Curling Club runs in the Martha Cohen Theatre until March 23.

Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here