Troupe offers Gulf troops comic relief

by Tony Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen

PHOTO: Jean Levac, The Ottawa Citizen
Cast members, from right, Jamie Douglas and Gabrielle Mackenzie will join BigTime Murder owner Peter Dillon in the Gulf.
Ottawa’s most successful murder mystery company is packing its bag of comedy high jinks and taking them on the road — again.

This time, BigTime Murder Productions is heading to the Persian Gulf to entertain the Canadian Forces as part of a touring variety show. Four actors from the company are joining an as-yet-unnamed Ottawa blues-jazz band on the bill.

The 12-day comedy tour of duty comes after the company’s journey last summer to St. Maarten in the Caribbean.

“We’re putting together a 45-minute show of our best interactive bits,” said Peter Dillon, owner of BigTime Murder Productions, a company started 11 years ago to produce murder-mystery theme events and shows for corporate clients.

“Hilariously interactive comedic entertainment is how we refer to it,” he said.

Joining him on the Jan. 31 trip overseas are cast members Jamie Douglas, Gabrielle Mackenzie and Mark Kennedy. The new show is a departure from earlier themes and brings together the best bits from different productions into a comedy package that will be done at a new location, he said.

“We’re going to be using about 20 people from the audience in the show and they will have no briefings, auditions or rehearsals. We’re going to draw them in and make them the stars of the show. The fun for us is so much of it will be unscripted.”

He said there will be a musical medley on a Titanic theme, as well as an interactive poetry bit with a spoof titled Swamp Lake.

Mr. Dillon said: “This is going to be the adventure of a lifetime. Not only are we going to feel great to be able to entertain the troops, it’s also another feather in our cap.”

Carleton Productions of Ottawa producer Suzanne Kukko is putting together the tour for National Defence. She said she saw cast members at a variety show last summer and thought they could bring comedy relief to the troops.

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