Too Heavy To Fly soars at Backstage - Delhi News-Record - Ontario, CA

December 2009

It’s amazing the amount of local talent we have in the area. A week and a half ago, several young musicians took to the stage at the Backstage Capitol Theatre to help raise funds at Concert to Cure III, and then, just this past weekend, the Delhi-based Canadian Country Cruisers put on three shows — a comedic music and dance performance called Too Heavy To Fly.

My wife and I took in the Cruisers’ Friday night show and were more than a little impressed with what we saw and heard…and smelled. This particular show had been presented before, but this time it took place at a venue tailor-made for the production. The theatre’s spacious stage, acoustics and state-of-the-art lighting were perfectly suited for the show which was to give patrons the feeling they were boarding a plane. Even the show tickets were designed to resemble airline boarding passes.

Adding to the ambience were the “metal detection” archway near the theatre’s entrance and the seating assistance provided by the show’s cast who were dressed in flight attendants’ and pilots’ uniforms, not to mention the “onboard movie” projected onto the stage’s drop screen which served as a prologue to the production itself. The short film, photographed in black and white, was meant to resemble something out of the Harold Lloyd era — a silent, slapstick comedy executed in a professional manner which gave the audience an idea of what was to follow. Filming, incidentally, was done on location in downtown Delhi with scenes shots inside Julie’s Travel and Simon’s Salon.

What followed was a well-written, well-acted, well-sung and well-danced production that could easily justify a tour to other towns and cities in the province if it wasn’t for the fact that most of the cast members have full-time jobs locally and would likely find it difficult to commit to anything quite so ambitious.

The show chronicled the adventures of two friends en route to a Hawaiian vacation, from their airport check-in to their long flight over the Pacific to their various missteps upon reaching their destination. Along the way, we run into some familiar faces, including Bubbles from The Trailer Park Boys and Ruth Buzzi’s famous Gladys, the spinster character from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

Too Heavy To Fly took full advantage of the theatre’s superior audio system, incorporating the sound of jet engines at takeoff and making sure the nearly 200 patrons could ably hear the chronic flatulence of “Susie,” played by Nadia Comer. Not only could we clearly hear her gaseous emissions, but the special effects team made sure we could smell them as well. Moments after Susie ripped a big one, the stench of rotten eggs came wafting through the audience. I turned to my wife and asked if she was smelling what I was smelling. The look on her face answered my question. At first I wasn’t sure if this was part of the show or if someone sitting near me simultaneously dealt a deadly one, but I figured it was likely part of the act when I learned later that patrons sitting 10 rows behind me were also gagging. Thankfully, the special effect was relatively short-lived. (By the way, did you know the reason God made farts smell? It's so deaf people can enjoy them, too)

The costume design, choreography and set design were all first class as well. Those who weren’t at the Backstage Capitol Theatre Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoon missed something special. Hopefully, this is just a taste of what this talented troupe of dancers/actors/singers have to offer. The Canadian Country Cruisers have already won international accolades for their fancy footwork. Last weekend showed their versatility goes well beyond their dancing capabilities.

It should be fun to see where they go next.

Mike Jiggens is a Delhi resident. His column appears regularly in the Delhi News-Record

Too Heavy To Fly soars at Backstage - Delhi News-Record - Ontario, CA

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