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An Old Maid to Marry

Review by Sue Gallant

The cast of La Cuisine à Mémé live on stage at Le Village de L'Acadie, Mont Carmel.

On the evening I visited Le Village de l'Acadie to review the Acadian dinner-theatre presentation, La Cuisine à Mémé, the cast seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience, and the standing ovation eventually awarded the beaming actors up on stage taking their final bow, was justly deserved. They worked hard for a solid three hours or more.

The cast of La Cuisine à Mémé not only perform on stage, they also meet and greet dinner-theatre goers at the beginning of the evening and wait on table. Their final visible task, is to collect the money for drink tabs after the performance has ended. And on that last point—only on PEI. Yes! Diners were asked to please not leave the building before the cast could get down off the stage to come around and collect bar monies due. There is trust for you. Ahhhhhh, the Island way!

This year's production, An Old Maid to Marry/La Vieille Fille a Marier, is a light comedy which tells the story of a 20 year-old maid, Marie-Me (played by Julie Arsenault), who lives with her grandmother, Meme (Diane Racette). Marie-Me eventually finds a suitor in undertaker Henry MacNeil (Louis-Philippe Roussel). However, MacNeil is English, and as such, decidedly not the suitor Acadian Meme had envisioned for Marie-Me. MacNeil is put through various worthiness tests which he passes. The happy couple are, or course, eventually united.

La Cuisine à Mémé is written by Emma Hache and directed by Sylvie Toupin. The cast of six not only act, they also perform several musical numbers. There is singing and step-dancing and of course fiddle and guitar playing. The evening evolves into something of a kitchen party-like atmosphere, sometime after the play itself has ended, which is bonus material indeed.

The food is good, hot and served in adequate proportions. There is fresh tossed salad and bread rolls to start; then a choice of seafood casserole, salmon fillet with Hollandaise sauce, or chicken breast with mushroom sauce for the main course. Dessert follows. The meal is delivered swiftly to table. Coffee, tea and juice are in seemingly limitless supply.

La Cuisine à Mémé was performed throughout the 2003 summer season, alternately in French and then English, from Tuesday through Saturday. Those who caught it, enjoyed an evening to remember.

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