Many Hats strips down for tender comedy Skin Flick

Penticton's Many Hats Theatre Company takes a comedic poke at the adult film industry in Skin Flick.

Many Hats Theatre Company is delving into a tender and affectionate comedy poking fun at the adult film industry.

Skin Flick, the fourth production of the season for the theatre company, is a Norm Foster comedy about five innocent people caught in the headlights of making an adult film. For obvious reasons, the production comes with a warning that it contains adult language and themes.

“There isn’t anything dirty in it and that is the No. 1 thing I want to emphasize. Yes, they talk about you know what, but you don’t see anything and nobody takes their clothes off,” clarified director Ed Schneider. “There is a couple of words in the beginning that might cause some people to get gastric indigestion but there is nothing really dirty about it. It is loads of fun.”

Rollie (Vance Potter) and Daphne (Kathy Hemmingsen) are down on their luck, as is Rollie’s best bud Alex (Rudy Nemecheck), a TV news cameraman now unemployed through a set of circumstances so bizarre that only Canada’s leading playwright could have created them. The solution to their no-cash dilemma is to produce a skin flick. Schneider said the laughs lie in the shock and discomfort of the characters as they venture into unchartered waters. He adds the way the playwright tells the tale through Rollie’s omniscient narration only adds to the comedy. Rollie is a charming, jolly, guy-next-door who not only amends the script on the fly but also peppers his monologues with asides about the art of writing and the playwright himself.

“He admits to being the playwright because he tinkers with the script. When someone uses a bad word he stops the action and apologizes and says from then on no one can say a bad word and they choke on them which is really funny,” said Schneider.

It is through an odd set of circumstances that the main characters in Skin Flick come across a pair that they then cast for their adult film. Jill (Shannon French) was sent to the wrong house to deliver balloons and Byron (Rob McCaffery) is Alex’s booky who gets roped in.

“I have directed several of Norm Foster’s plays and this is now my favourite, it is so funny. Every line in the play is a joke or setting someone else up for a laugh-line. It is just hilarious,” said Schneider. “We have an unbelievably talented crew that are doing a bang-up job on it and are having tons of fun.”

Potter is from Okanagan Falls and has been in other productions, but it will be the first time he is with Many Hats. Hemmingsen is working on her fourth Many Hats show and has done Shakespeare and a few other shows. Nemecheck, McCaffery and French are all Many Hats regulars as well.

“Norm Foster throws little things into the script and you can’t figure out why until later and all of sudden you realize that is why when they come back to it and there is the joke. It’s always these wonderful loose ends that gets tied up. This isn’t Shakespeare. It is just fun,” said Schneider.

Reserved seat tickets are $22 for adults and $19 for students and seniors. They are available at the Wine Country Visitor’s Centre, or can be reserved by phone at 250-276-2170. A reception will be held on the opening night (Sept. 5) in the adjoining Opus Bistro Café which will give everyone a chance to meet and chat with the cast and crew.

“I think this will be a big hit and tickets will sell out fast, so make sure you buy early or reserve them before it is too late,” said Schneider.

Skin Flick runs from Sept. 5 to Sept. 28 on the Cannery Stage in the Cannery Trade Centre. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.