CAT stages Canadian classic Culture Shock

Central Alberta Theatre has opened the New Year with Culture Shock, a show the troupe also staged back in 2007. Additional performances this time around run Jan. 17-19 and 31 plus Feb. 1-2.

Penned by Chris Lorne Elliot, the show is being directed by CAT veteran Brian Spencer and features Paul Sutherland, Mike Sutherland, Tim Newcomb, Jim Claggett and Blaine Newton.

The play was initially staged as a fundraiser for a community organization back in the winter of 2007. Spencer was also at the helm of that show and Paul Sutherland, Mike Sutherland and Newcomb were in the cast then as well.

Newton and Claggett – both talented and very funny guys – came onboard this time.

From the get-go, there is no question these men know how to have a good time onstage. They click well, in spite of some pacing opening-night lags and lapses.

But really, nothing is held back as they dive into the tale of Newfoundlander Hillyard Phillpot (Paul). This guy is bored of life in Jarvis Arm and opts for some excitement in Montreal much to his father’s (Mike and Paul’s real life dad) chagrin.

But enroute, Hillyard lands a ride with a pair of nutty criminals (Newcomb and Newton) who are planning to rob a bank in downtown Montreal. After the robbery, Phillpot, always interpreting events in his own unique way, inadvertently helps the duo escape the cops. They later end up tracking him down with his stash of cash and the mayhem steps up to a new level.

Not only that, but Hillyard’s father kind of takes to a ‘life of crime’ with a bit of help from local mailman Cyril played by Claggett.

Aside from a second half that tended to ramble on a bit, those in attendance enjoyed the antics unfolding onstage. And ultimately, the strongest aspect of this show are the performances – particularly that of Paul who audiences will recognize from his frequent appearances with Ignition Theatre.

Known for his dramatic, intense performances, it’s amusing to see him show his comedic side complete with a Newfoundland accent.

Tickets for all performances are available through the Black Knight Ticket Centre by calling 403-755-6626 or by visiting