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Good Golly Miss Molly

Review by Chris McGarry

Papa (Michael Peters) and Molly (Melissa MacKenzie) play 60s radicalsOn July 13 the Rodd Charlottetown was alive with the sounds of classic rock n roll tunes and uproarious laughs as a large enthusiastic audience gathered to watch the lively dinner theatre production Good Golly Miss Molly.

The spirited, thoroughly engrossing, well-acted story begins in modern-day Charlottetown where family and friends have gathered at the Snappy Lobster Bed and Breakfast to pay tribute to Molly, a former 1960s radical who had died a few weeks earlier in a skateboarding accident at the age of 74. Molly and her husband of many years Papa (Michael Peters) had opened the well-known B&B after putting their activism behind them and settling down in the mid-1970s.

Present at the memorial are Molly’s granddaughter Alex (Melissa MacKenzie), her friend Chris (Alex Kelly), Papa, long-time employees of the Snappy Lobster, Stan and Rosa (Branden Kelly and Helen Killorn), as well as Ted Stone (Ryan J. Burda), a dodgy, scheming realtor who wants to tear down the historic B&B so that a multinational designer clothing company can build an outlet on the property.

The second part of Good Golly Miss Molly transports the audience back to the 1960s, when Molly (played flawlessly by MacKenzie), Papa, Susan (Killorn) and the goofy, cowardly Dale (Kelly)—all hippies—are immersed in protesting against the Establishment, not all of it peaceful. Molly had been quite a prominent (albeit notorious) activist in her day and had even been friends with John Lennon, whom Burda does an excellent job of portraying in the production.

To say that Good Golly Miss Molly is a good production would be a grossly unfair understatement. Everything about the dinner theatre—from the colorful stage props to the actors’ overall performances—was first-rate.

The performers, who had a solid chemistry among themselves on stage, had an even stronger rapport with the audience, to whom they served a delicious meal.

The six cast members truly went out of their way to make the most of their varied, comical roles. Michael Peters was excellent as Papa as a radical though peaceful hippy and an old man in the present-day whose mind is gone from decades of heavy drug use. Melissa MacKenzie—no stranger to the theatre herself—shone as the somewhat militant Molly who, like so many activists of that turbulent era, eventually matured and went on to live a fulfilling, interesting life.

But what is probably the most exciting aspect of Good Golly Miss Molly, written by Garry Williams and directed by Sherri-Lee Darrach, are the musical performances by the cast members who sang and played their own instruments.

From beginning to end, the audience was treated to classic songs spanning five decades from artists as varied as Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, Fleetwood Mac, A-Ha and Emili Sande. All in all, Good Golly Miss Molly is a total pleasure to watch and is one show not to be missed this summer.

Good Golly Miss Molly plays from Tuesdays to Saturdays at the Rodd Charlottetown until the end of August.

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