Hilarious holiday comedy for the whole family

Published 5:03 pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013

By Caroline Stephenson


AHOSKIE – Community theatre is alive and well at the Gallery in Ahoskie and theatre goers are in for a Christmas-themed treat when they go see In-Laws, Outlaws, and Other People (That Should Be Shot).

Set on Christmas Eve in Brooklyn, NY, the cast of 20 takes the audience on a hilarious two-hour ride about family, tough times, and the holiday spirit.  The directing, set decoration, acting, and laughs are not to be missed.

Henry Joyner returns to the Director’s chair and skillfully takes on the daunting task of wrangling a huge ensemble cast.

“Once you get the blocking down, the rest falls into place.  Working with a cast of 20 has been easier than working with a cast of just five or six,” Joyner said.

Joyner’s association with the Gallery began back in 1984 when he played two parts in Annie Get Your Gun.  Since then he has been involved in all aspects of production; directing, set construction, set design, and lighting design.

By his side again for In-Laws is trusty Assistant Director Brenda Velazquez.  This is their sixth play together.

“We have been working on this since August.  We have some newbies to the stage along with some Gallery veterans. This play is a great way to kick off the holiday season with the whole family,” she said.

Velazquez also decorated the elaborately detailed set which includes a Christmas tree, presents, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and even some falling snow.

So what’s In-Laws about?  In a nutshell, Christmas time wouldn’t be complete without family, friends and…outlaws?! That’s right, as the Douglas family prepares to be invaded by their quirky relatives for their annual Christmas Eve dinner, two local hooligans unexpectedly appear at their door. Tony, a high-strung gangster, and Vinny, his dim-witted side-kick, have just robbed a neighborhood liquor store and need a quick place to take cover.

With the police on the prowl, the Douglas home looks like the perfect place to hide. But looks can be deceiving! The hoodlums quickly find themselves holed up with a growing list of hostages, including smart-aleck teens, nosy neighbors, and bickering adults. With a cast of colorful characters, laugh-a-minute-dialogue, and a surprise, heart-felt ending, In-Laws will have you laughing and celebrating the true spirit of Christmas.

Tommy Hurdle plays tough-guy Tony who takes the Douglas family hostage.

“Tony is a typical person dealing with hard issues and stresses during the holiday season.  You misjudge him until you get to know him,” Hurdle said.

Hurdle is well known on the Gallery stage for musical theatre.

“I wanted to play this part because it is totally opposite to myself and I get to be someone totally different which is fun,” he noted.

Hurdle’s high-strung “Tony” keeps the rest of the characters on edge, keeps the laughs coming, and the pace of the play brisk.

Gallery Theatre Executive Director Ralph Hewitt plays a policeman who is the catalyst for the unexpected happy ending.  Hewitt is especially excited about In-Laws.

“Good, live entertainment is a special occasion.  There is a magic in live theatre. There is no take two, you get one chance to get it right,” Hewitt said.

Get it right they did.  In-Laws  is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Community theatre is an all volunteer effort made up of people from all walks of life: aviators, coffee shop owners, dance instructors, high school and college students, hair stylists and teachers.   Come on down and see these incredible folks in action.

Performance dates for In-Laws are Nov. 15, 16, 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 and 24 at 2:30 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before curtain at the Gallery Theatre on Main Street in Ahoskie.

For tickets: call 332-2976 or email GET TICKETS! at execdirector@gallerytheatre.org.  General admission tickets are  $12 Adult; $10 Seniors age 62 and over; and $8 Students. Get season subscription tickets for 50 percent off now through Nov. 24.

To learn more about the Gallery Theatre and to sign-up for online newsletters, visit the website at gallerytheatre.org