No sleep for the Princess Av­enue Play­house in Bun­nell’s Peo­ple

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - ERIC BUN­NELL er­icbun­nells­peo­[email protected]

For once, the In­ter­net *isn’t* to blame.

After five years in St. Thomas, Fam­ily Video is to un­plug Jan. 6.

But not be­cause of Net­flix or other on­line stream­ing, or any­thing like that.

Illi­nois-based Fam­ily Video, which bills it­self the largest video chain in the U.S. with 700plus stores in the States and three in Canada, says it sim­ply has been un­able to ne­go­ti­ate a new lease for the Tal­bot Street lo­ca­tion of the city’s last stand­alone video store — iron­i­cally, a former Block­buster be­fore the In­ter­net killed off that chain.

“We have been in ne­go­ti­a­tions with our land­lord for a few months and were un­able to come to a long term agree­ment to con­tinue our stay in St Thomas,” e-replies Beth Kerry, Fam­ily Video district man­ager for Metro Detroit and SW Ont.

“Un­for­tu­nately we are not able to re­lo­cate within St Thomas be­cause we could not find a spot to fit our needs.”

Busi­ness at the out­let was good, she says.

“The St Thomas store was meet­ing all of their sales & per­for­mance goals through­out 2018 and were very liked by the com­mu­nity. By no means was the de­ci­sion based on pop­u­lar­ity of the busi­ness or en­ter­tain­ment com­pe­ti­tion.”

A real­tor’s sign ad­ver­tis­ing avail­abil­ity of the lo­ca­tion went up a few weeks ago. And Fam­ily Video posted its clos­ing on the week­end.

Beth says the store’s five em­ploy­ees were of­fered re­lo­ca­tions. But they’ve cho­sen to fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tions, in­stead.

“Every­one sees it as a pos­i­tive op­por­tu­nity and will use the skills they have learned with us in their fu­tures.”

Un­til clos­ing, the lo­cal store will re­ceive and rent new re­leases thru the end of De­cem­ber while also selling its stock of movies and games. Last rentals Jan. 3.

Dunno how she man­ages with all the racket but Princess Rose is get­ting her beauty sleep these days on stage at the Princess Av­enue Play­house … in spite of the ex­cite­ment of more than 1,000 kids of all ages thru the doors to see Sleep­ing Beauty, this year’s edi­tion of El­gin The­atre Guild’s an­nual, tra­di­tional hol­i­day pan­tomime.

ETG pres­i­dent and show di­rec­tor Les­ley Chap­man, who also takes a de­li­ciously ma­li­cious turn on stage to wickedly en­chant the poor princess, says the last of the nine per­for­mances of the fun-and-fool­ish­ness-for-all panto, are sold out thru the re­main­der of its run this week­end.

But after, no rest for the good … nor the evil. ETG now is in re­hearsal for a mid-win­ter of­fer­ing of Agatha Christie’s mys­tery thriller, The Mouse­trap.

ETG artis­tic di­rec­tor and show di­rec­tor John Allen says there’s a bit of fun go­ing on off­stage, as well:

It’s Catch The Mice, a game where par­tic­i­pants pick up a game card and visit spon­sors to col­lect their stamps for their cards. Prizes pro­vided by gen­er­ous spon­sors which in­clude Jen­nings Fine Fur­ni­ture, Pete Charl­ton’s Qual­ity Meats, Why Not Cook­ies, Stream­lin­ers, Rail City Bistro, and Dark Mat­ters Toys and Col­lectibles. Game cards are also avail­able at the St. Thomas Pub­lic Li­brary.

“There is one lit­tle catch how­ever” e-grins John. “To fi­nal­ize your en­try, you have to come and see the show.”

The Mous­trap is on stage Feb. 14-24. Click to el­ginthe­atreguild.ca

And just a few tick­ets left — but, still, a few — for roots mu­si­cian Joe Crook­ston’s ap­pear­ance in con­cert Dec. 14 at said his­toric play­house.

With mu­si­cal guest, Junonom­i­nated Dayna Man­ning – and, now, with Dayna’s dad, as well.

“Just in­formed that Dayna’s fa­ther will be join­ing her on trum­pet for some num­bers,” e-says Dave McCormick, who con­venes ETG’s con­tin­u­ing se­ries of mu­si­cal per­for­mances.

“Saw them to­gether a cou­ple of years ago at the Grand The­atre and it was truly GRAND.”

Joe also will ex­hibit some of his art­work, which Dave hints just might be some­thing to put un­der the tree ….

As the 13th of 14 chil­dren, Denyse Ger­vais Re­gan says fam­ily al­ways has been im­por­tant to her and sib­lings.

“Oh, gosh. Fam­ily is ev­ery­thing,” she says on the phone. “It’s so very, very spe­cial.” And, now, with grown chil­dren of her own with St. Joe’s high school sweet­heart Larry Re­gan, and with grand­kids, and even one great-, Denyse beams, “What’s so beau­ti­ful is to see that go on.”

Of course, we’re fa­mil­iar with Denyse’s story, which she told in a well-re­ceived play staged in 2005 at Blyth Fes­ti­val (and read just last Oc­to­ber at Man­i­toba The­atre Cen­tre), and then, in a book. The Thir­teenth One tells tale of the un­born Denyse that her mother re­fused to give up for adop­tion to save the fam­ily farm.

Now, Denyse has penned The Lucky Thir­teenth One, the con­tin­u­a­tion of her story from age 7, when her French-Cana­dian fam­ily moved from Man­i­toba to what they hoped would be their bet­ter fu­ture near Sparta.

Denyse al­ways has kept a scrib­bler by her bed — “I’m not call­ing it a jour­nal” — and when it came time to write the se­quel she al­ways knew she would, “I had a book of short sto­ries in there.”

She laughs when she re­calls the story of her own fam­ily mov­ing for a year in Larry’s ca­reer to Ot­tawa and Denyse in­sist­ing on a home across the river in French­s­peak­ing Hull, to im­merse their English-speak­ing chil­dren.

“Mom, this isn’t Hull’”, she quotes them. “’It’s Hell.’”

“I hadn’t given it a thought,” Denyse ad­mits of the im­pact on the school-age fam­ily.

A num­ber of the sto­ries and il­lus­tra­tions in the book are con­trib­uted by fam­ily mem­bers.

There’s a launch party 1:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at Holy Fam­ily Ro­man Catholic Church parish hall, 777 Valetta St., Lon­don.

Denyse has a web­site at deny­segervais­re­gan.com

Post launch, The Lucky Thir­teen One is to be avail­able at Indigo, Ma­sonville; The Ox­ford Book Store, Lon­don; The Mus­tard Seed, Lon­don; Pinecroft Restau­rant & Gift Shop, Aylmer; Chap­ters, South

Lon­don. And in Jan­uary, at Coles, St. Thomas.

Also, by writ­ing Denyse at [email protected]­pa­tico.ca.

Al­most home for the hol­i­days is Rick Kish, who re­turns Satur­day to the stage of Port Stan­ley Fes­ti­val The­atre, where once he was ac­tor and artis­tic di­rec­tor not a few years ago, with A Re­ally Retro Crooner Christ­mas re­vue of mu­si­cal favourites from the ’50s and ’60s. Rick, fel­low crooner Con­nor Boa, the Croonettes and a smokin’ jazz trio. (Re­mem­ber those Si­na­tra- and Deanos­tyle hol­i­day TV spe­cials?)

“It’s like go­ing home,” he e-en­thuses. “So much of the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer was wrapped up in Port Stan­ley Fes­ti­val The­atre, first as an ac­tor, and then as artis­tic di­rec­tor.”

He’s been back a few times since but says, “This one feels ex­tra spe­cial!”

Mati­nee and evening per­for­mances. Click to port­stan­leythe­atre.ca

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The young fairies in El­gin The­atre Guild’s an­nual hol­i­day pan­tomime have worked their magic. Cur­rently on stage at the Princess Av­enue Play­house, ETG’s Sleep­ing Beauty is sold out for the re­main­der of its run. Front from left, Madi­son Carey, Jo­hanna John­son, Ca­dence Tay­lor, with adult fairy min­der Jenny Chap­man.

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