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TMUC brewing up a wild production

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Several cast members of Transcona Memorial United Church's production of The Pony Expresso are shown during a break in rehearsal.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

Several cast members of Transcona Memorial United Church's production of The Pony Expresso are shown during a break in rehearsal. Photo Store

You might be familiar with the concept of a spaghetti western, but an espresso western?

If you enjoy your dinner theatre with an added kick of java, the Transcona Memorial United Church’s upcoming production of The Pony Expresso from April 24 to 27 might be your cup of joe.

The play, written by Rachel Davidson, is the church’s fourth annual event. Co-producer Lynn Measner said the plot follows a coffee shop owner in the old West looking to head off a villainous coffee cart entrepreneur as the central railway is coming to town.

"It’s all coffee-themed," said Measner, who is co-producing with Melanie Moroz. "There are loads of puns in this play."

One new element of this year’s production will be live instruments playing the song as opposed to canned music. The addition of the dusty acoustic guitar sound adds a layer of authenticity to the Wild West production.

"We’ve had to go with recorded music the past couple years because we didn’t have a pianist," she said. "We actually had recorded music this year, but when our music director brought it out, the cast was finding it hard to sing in time. It’s hard to sing with karaoke music — it’s the one pitch and the one speed.

"He brought his guitar one day, of course the cast loved it, and asked ‘Why can’t you play guitar for all the songs?’"

As in past years, there will be a rookie helming the project, as Cody Smith is directing the production. He’s not a part of the TMUC congregation, but Measner feels the team is working extremely well together.

"He has been in the theatrical community, but we have welcomed him with open arms," Measner said. "The cast has bonded well with him."

In terms of the meal, the production has signed up with Lewis Catering this year, and a meal of chicken breast, meatballs, cabbage rolls, and potatoes will be served, though vegetarian options are also available.

Showtimes are 6:30 p.m. from April 24 to 26 and 4:30 p.m. on April 27 at the church, located at 209 Yale Ave. W.

Tickets are $40, with a $20 tax receipt issued at the time of purchase. Those looking for tickets can contact Frank or Carol Favoni at favonifc@mts.net or 204-222-1475. Wheelchair arrangements are available, though producers request notifying organizers at the time of purchase if anyone in the party uses a wheelchair to ensure proper seating arrangements are made.

Half the ticket price goes to cover the production’s costs, while the other $20 goes back into the church’s funds.

"This is community theatre for better community," Measner said. "Our church is based on inclusiveness, so we are host to a number of community programs."

Approximately 50 volunteers are needed per night. Those looking to help out can contact the church office at 204-222-1331.

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