Twenty times a Lady

Tara Thorne hates the heat but loves summer theatre.

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Summer theatre is off on its merry way these days, and jumping into the pool this week is Festival Antigonish, celebrating its 20th frakkin' season. (That's for all you Battlestar fans whose Emmy hopes were dashed by an inside source this week.) It's kicking off musical-style, the best kind, with No Way to Treat a Lady, written by one of our favourite book writers whose films rarely interest us, William Goldman.

True story: we were once seated on a couch kitty-corner to Mr. Goldman, he of All the President's Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame, and he was just reading the paper, right there, a knee away, but we didn't recognize him until he got up to leave. Read his book, Which Lie Did I Tell?

But before you do that, head down to the 'Nish and check out this play, which stars two of our favourites, Marty Burt and Shelley Thompson, plus people we'd probably love once we checked them out: Carson Nattrass, Margot Sampson and Bridget Bezanson. Burt's Kit Gill is an actor with the most mommy issues this side of Norman Bates who charms his way into a middle-aged woman's life and plans to kill her while a detective pursues him. It's directed by Cliff LeJeune, who is stoked to be back at the festival. "There's such a great feeling of "company' here," he says. "It really is a beautiful and well-oiled machine."

No Way to Treat a Lady opens Friday, July 5 and runs through August 16. Hit www.festivalantigonish.com or call 867-3333 for schedules and ticket reservations.

Kick, push

We don't have a sports column but we're happy to remind you that the official opening of the Halifax Skatepark—originally skedded during monsoon season, you know, late June—goes on Thursday, July 5. The Jimmy Swift Band will play, but more importantly you'll get to see demos from the raddest local riders, be able to pick up a free helmet and bug the mayor about the Common shows while he serves you a hot dog. (Madonna, dude!)

There will also be art and face painting and the unveiling of the new mural on the side of the Pavilion. The fun starts at 5:30pm, weather, but of course, permitting.

For the love of Mike

Mike MacDonald, the only comedian ever to perform at every single Just for Laughs festival in Montreal—this year makes 25!— drops by the Halifax Yuk Yuks for three days this week. He stops here on his "Back to My Roots" tour, which hits this year's JFL as part of a gala hosted by George Lopez.

MacDonald's official bio is pretty persuasive: "He's Canada's equivalent of a fine wine that just keeps getting better and better and is guaranteed to make you feel good." What more do you want? The shows are from July 5 to 7, with tickets starting at $12. See www.yukyuks.com for deets or call 429-9857.

The Players, the thing

Looking ahead to fall, Dartmouth Players has announced its 2007-2008 line-up with dates to be finalized. The community theatre will begin with the play-within-a-play Jitters, written by David French, which follows a washed-up actor as she "tries to impress a Broadway producer only to be foiled by an actor who is worried that if the play goes to New York he will be exposed as a hack. In the play within the play, of course, they are lovers."

That will be followed by the English romcom Good Things, about a woman nearing 50 trying to decide if she should try to love again. The Clean House is "an unpredictable drama in which the act of cleaning house transforms the lives of two unlikely sisters." (Are there any other kind of siblings than unlikely?)

And the Players will wrap up their twenty-first season with The Spitfire Grill, based on the underseen 1996 film by Lee David Zlotoff: "A feisty parolee follows her dreams, based on a page from an old travel book, to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah's Spitfire Grill."

The Players will also remount their production of Nunsense, which had a mad crazy sellout run last November, from August 16 to18 and 22-25. We recommend calling them up and getting your tix now: 465-7529.

Make it a habit to send arts and culture news to: tarat@thecoast.ca

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