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COLUMN: 'Clever' MAT play keeps you guessing until the very end

New Mariposa Arts Theatre play among many worthwhile events to check out locally in the days and weeks ahead, says columnist
Larry Cooper as Greg, Samantha Cole as Laura, and Kathryn Heins as Jan, star in Mariposa Arts Theatre's I'll Be Back Before Midnight, opening Thursday at the Orillia Opera House.

Tuesday night, I was fortunate to be able to attend the dress rehearsal of this month’s Mariposa Arts Theatre (MAT) play, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight

If you’re like me, you probably pay attention to, and buy tickets for, MAT’s musical offerings, like Chicago, or Rocky Horror, but maybe not so much the plays that are on offer in between. Well, I’m here to tell you, change that tune! This play is really well done, and you should go.

It’s in the Studio Theatre at the Orillia Opera House, so there are no bad seats. It’s a really cleverly written thriller with some laughs as well, and a great twisty, whodunit plot that keeps you guessing right until the end. And the four-person cast is excellent, with Jim Dwyer and Samantha Cole as stand-outs, in my opinion.

There are also lots of smaller details that are really well done and show MAT is at the top of its game, in all of its offerings. Many jump moments that are perfectly executed, the details in the set are many and varied ... the more you look, the more you notice the many perfect additions. The lighting is excellent, the costumes and make up are as well ... especially some of the more gruesome touches.

So, in a word, go! Tickets are only $30 at and shows run from this Thursday, April 11 to this Sunday, April 14 and then again next week. Both Sunday matinees are already sold out, so don’t wait on this one. Go!

An annual tradition is back! The Orillia Kiwanis Music Festival is running from April 8 to April 26 at St. Paul's Centre Orillia. Come out for loads of different instrumental and vocal performances by all ages of musicians. Admission by donation. Click here for a full schedule and program.

Cloud Gallery is hosting its second Meet the Artist Event this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in its space in Creative Nomad Studios. The artist in question is Washago-based artist Elena Dinissuk, whose signature style consists of open skies, majestic trees, blue waterways, and the highways that lead there. This collection of artwork will be featured all together in the main gallery. There will be butter tarts and hot beverages as well, so come out and see this gorgeous collection of work. 

St. James’ Anglican Church is hosting a Reconciliation Circle with special guest Mary Louise Meiers. Meiers is one of the artists and the curator of the Call 83 Art Project over at St. Paul’s Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery. She will bring one of the pieces from that project to St. James’ and talk about the project. Light refreshments will be served, and it all takes place this Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

If you are interested in learning more about the Call 83 project, St. Paul’s is hosting Conversations with the Artists of Call 83, starting April 17 and running for four weeks, at the Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery, from 10 a.m. to noon. Meiers will facilitate these conversations, which will feature two artists from the project, each week. This is an art project that has been going for eight years and has gone through three rounds of arts with different Settler and First Nations artists. For more details on this exciting opportunity, go here. You can register to attend by emailing [email protected]

Don’t forget, Twin Lakes Secondary School's production of Murder on the Orient Express runs April 10 to 12, at 7 p.m., at the school. The production has been in rehearsal since November and over 30 students have been involved in it, as actors, set designers and painters, and lots of other behind-the-scenes work. Check it all out by getting your tickets at the door or through the school office.

Lakehead University’s Spring Third Age Learning offering delves into the complex world of mental health. Featuring renowned academic leaders and professionals working in the field of mental health, topics will include substance abuse disorders, innovations in treatment, the impact of mental illnesses on family members, and resiliency.

The lectures are delivered both in person and via Zoom, so you can attend any which way that works for you ... although if you come in person, you get a cookie and coffee, too! Tickets are just $65 plus HST for the whole series, or $15 a lecture. It all gets going April 17 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. Find out more and get your tickets, here.

Orillia Museum of Art and History’s April History Talk features speaker Professor Dr. Frances Helyar talking about artist C.W. Jefferies, a well-known artist and illustrator of school textbooks. Helyar knows her stuff, and this Zoom talk will be a fascinating look into some of Jefferies’ body of work, especially focussing on Simcoe County. The talk is happening April 17 at 7 p.m. To get the Zoom link, click here.

Don’t forget Roots North Music Festival is happening next weekend, with mainstage events at St. Paul’s Centre Friday and Saturday night, and tons of music all weekend long at venues throughout Orillia. For all the details or to purchase your $65 wristband, go here

As part of Roots North, PICNIC Tapas and Round is offering Writers in the Round, with songwriters B. Knox, Mitch Szitas, Corey Taylor and hosted by Michael Martyn, next Wed. April 17. You can reserve your table here.

Just announced, Mariposa Folk Festival’s Showcase concert of Emerging Artists is happening April 27 at St. Paul’s Centre, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is your chance to hear ten emerging artists vie for three spots at this year’s folk festival. Admission is free and it’s a great afternoon of music, come check it out.

Quayle Brewery’s Live at the Loft this weekend features Dave Beal Friday, Matt Playne Saturday both from 5 to 8 p.m., and Jared Stafford Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Couchiching Craft Brewery hosts Mr. B the Band Friday night and Sammy Johnston and Jeff Davis Saturday night. 

Have a great weekend and if you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included. 


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