A&E » Arts

A reunion of one’s own



What: Maxine & Blair’s High School Reunion

Where: Uli’s Flipside

When: Thursday, March 4, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $39

Probably the best thing about being a comedic actress with your own production company is if you miss out on something in life, you can always recreate it as interactive theatre.

Case in point: Michele Bush, last seen as a dead-ringer for Edina "Eddy" Monsoon in local stage adaptations of the Jennifer Saunders’ BBC dark comedy Absolutely Fabulous and head of self-named Bushwoman Productions.

When word of her 20-year high school reunion came up a few years ago, Bush found herself eagerly anticipating the event. She contacted an old chum and the two made plans to be there with bells on. Travelling in style in his convertible Jaguar the duo made their grand entrance at the Vancouver restaurant.. .only to be told by staff the party had taken place the previous weekend.

To add insult to injury, it had been a rocker.

But Bush doesn’t have to rue her lost reunion. With Maxine and Blair’s High School Reunion in her theatrical quiver, she can stage a 20-year high school reunion rocker pretty much whenever she wants.

The concept of M and B, says Bush, was inspired by the long-running show Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding, an event wherein show-goers become actual wedding guests, eating, drinking, dancing and interacting with the cast.

Similarly, with Bush’s production show-goers become part of the fictitious Whistler Alpine High class of ’84. Each participant is given a new name on a name tag, and a brief description of what kind of high school student they once were and which old friends, varsity teammates, smoking buddies or lab partners they should seek out.

The principle characters will be familiar faces for Whistlerites: Bush plays glee-clubber Maxine Markowitz, Chris Quinlan is computer geek Cliff Gates, Mike Varrin is rock star Spike Reno, Cheryl Massey is perky cheerleader Julie Sweeney, Tim Allix is meathead jock Wedge Neuman and Heather Clifford is square peg Blair.

Even though 20 hypothetical years have come and gone there is a wealth of unresolved issues to be hashed out soap opera-style. The result is a delicious, gossipy, guilty pleasure of an evening full of melodramatic twists and turns.

Just as in life, where some folks prefer to sit and watch and some can’t keep themselves out of the action, show goers customize their own level of involvement in the production. Girls spurned two decades ago by Wedge can slap the cocky bastard or let sleeping dogs lie.

The evening includes a prom king and queen coronation and musical choices will reference Grad 1984 – lots of Van Halen presumably. Those who really want to get into character are encouraged to drag out their ’80s duds.

Bush and company have performed the four-year-old show four times, for both public and private corporate functions, but Thursday night marks the first time at Uli’s Flipside.

The $39 ticket price includes a meal served family style – bowls on the tables – as opposed to banquet style. And on the subject of families, Bush says kids are welcome and will be accommodated but parents should be prepared for colourful language and risqué content of the Will & Grace/Sex and the City variety. Otherwise, as is the case with interactive theatre, expect the unexpected. Grad ’84 rules!

Maxine and Blair’s High School Reunion kicks off at 7 p.m. Call 604-935-1107 for information.

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