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Off Her Rocker

Review by Kumari Campbell

A new comedy by Nancy Beck premiered at the Georgetown Theatre. Off Her Rocker is about Prince Edward Island Supreme Court judge, Roberta Elvira Boyle (Bertie for short), who spends her spare time writing jingles. Beck plays the role of the eccentric judge.

By writing her jingles for local businesses, Bertie immediately scores points (and howls of laughter) from the audience. Gillis’ Drive-in, Stewart & Beck, and Doc Johnston’s are some of the Montague businesses graced by Judge Bertie’s jingles.

The action of the play unfolds at Bertie’s summer campsite on the lower reaches of the Montague River, where she takes refuge from her courtroom while exercising her creative muscles. This is where the audience finds her in her rocker (she is known as ‘the rocking judge’, she informs the audience), surrounded by clotheslines festooned with laundry, a seagull hat on her head and a mandolin in her hands, hard at work on her latest jingle. It is also where Penelope (Pence for short) finds her. Penelope is the prim-and-proper British journalist who has journeyed all the way to PEI to write a biographical piece on the oddball judge.

In due course they are joined by Bertie’s assistant, Mystical Crystal (Misty for short), a ‘cosmically aware’ young woman whose intense knowledge and understanding of auras and all things mystical help keep Bertie organized. Together Bertie and Misty convince Pence to abandon her well-paying job in London and stay on in ‘the colonies’, where she can ghost-write Misty’s book on the effects of the cosmos on human behaviour.

Caroline Hewson does a very convincing job (complete with English-Irish accent) playing the straight-laced British journalist who gradually lets down her hair to become just as quirky as her fellow-actors. Carolyn Campbell too is perfect for the flower child role she is cast in. Her amazing repertoire of facial expressions alone is most entertaining. As for Nancy Beck, one has to wonder about her seemingly limitless capacity for producing new material. Where does she get her ideas from anyway?

Although the action in the second half tended to drag a bit with the lengthy preparations for the nose flute lessons, and a few too many fa-la-las at the end, Off Her Rocker is a light comedy offering that should fit the bill for a summer evening while at the cottage or the campground.

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