The Old Soldier
Review by Sarah Crane
La Cuisine à Mémé dinner theatre at Le Village in Mont-Carmel returns this year with The Old Soldier. The same play as last year only with one slight difference, this year they are showing it in English, as well as French. However, when taking in the English version it quickly becomes apparent that despite the language change, this play has retained all of its Acadian flavour and charm.
The play is set in Mémé's kitchen, a gathering place of relatives and friends where the lively beat of Acadian music intersperses every moment. Diane Racette plays Mémé, the omnipotent and omnibenevolent matriarch. It is her kitchen and she welcomes all to join her family in it. The restaurant is an intimate setting, you believe that you really could be sitting around Mémé's table. After traveling to Mont Carmel, into the heart of Acadian country, you wouldn't expect to be anywhere else other than sitting around and visiting with a bustling family of eccentric Acadian. The kitchen is full of jokes, music and traditional Acadian food.
All is well, until an old soldier and old love of Mémé's shows up, causing considerable chaos in la cuisine. The old soldier, Aujuste, played by Wayne Robichaud, is mumbling, bumbling, stumbling, hard of hearing, and hilariously confused. His antics to recapture Mémé's heart keep the audiences in tears of laughter.They hang on his every movement to see what he will do next.
After the meal and play join the cast in a kitchen party. The music following the play is where the Acadian flavour of the evening really shines through. Each song is energetic and the cast manages to bring the audience into a rocking mass of clapping hands and stomping feet. Lively and fun, they bring out the Acadian in all of us.
Playing to a diverse audience of local friends and tourists, the cast of the show managed to bring everyone together through laughter and music.
Set in Le Village, the historical Acadian museum, the evening, complete with kitchen party and music, becomes a true venture into Acadian culture. Mont Carmel is a beautiful setting. As you leave and look over the water and village, it completes the evening.