Death by a thousand laughs


Big River Arts Society performs dinner theatre June 1-2; set for another show June 8-9

Laughter filled the Nancy Appleby Theatre as the Big River Arts Society (BRASS) put on productions of the murder mystery musical The Last Resort June 1 and 2.

The comedy put on by local artists tells the story of a murder mystery in Saskatchewan. Local artists danced and sung on stage for the third annual dinner theatre production by BRASS, which acts as a fundraiser for the society.

Director Gina Martel said she was happy with her actors’ performances on opening night June 1.

“The actors really did an excellent job. They’ve been going everyday for the last ten days, and they just really have hit their stride,” Martel said in an interview June 1.

The joke-filled musical was a light-hearted take on the murder mystery genre, leading to plenty of laughter from the audience through the show.

Martel said she was also happy with the audience response to the performance.

“They really enjoyed it. I heard lots of laughter. The fun part for us is to see where the audience is finding humour that we didn’t even realize was there in some cases,” Marel said. “To see the reaction from the audience was quite fun for us.”

Denny Sawchuk performed as Freda Heitz, the manager of the titular Last Resort where the musical takes place. A veteran of last year’s BRASS dinner theatre production, Sawchuk said he was eager to be apart of it again.

“We just had so much fun with that and such a great group of people to work with. It was a no-brainer when I was asked to do it again,” Sawchuk said in an interview.

There was a good energy from the audience for the opening night performance, Sawchuk said.

“We had a lot of energy, it was a lot of fun, we had a good time,” Sawchuk said. “It gives you a positive feeling, especially when you get the laughs that you’re searching for. It really helps out.”

The event also featured a dinner hosted by the Athabasca Rotary Club from Elsa’s Catering before the production.

“The dinner went very well. We had probably over 100 people for dinner,” Martel said in a June 1 interview.

Wilma Cooke saw the show June 1 and said she regularly attends BRASS productions. She added she really enjoyed the performances in The Last Resort.

“They were excellent, just excellent,” Cooke said. “I’ve seen some of them before. They just act so well.”

The production, run in partnership with the Rotary Club of Athabasca, runs two more nights, June 8 and 9. Tickets are available at Servus Credit Union, Value Drug Mart or

Sawchuk said a lot of hard work went into the production from the cast, but it has been a lot of fun to put the show together.

“A lot of hard work went into this show by everybody, but every rehearsal was a lot of laughs,” Sawchuk said. “It’s a great group of people, we just have so much fun together. It’s actually a little bit sad that it’s close to coming to an end.”


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