KTG does Norm Foster’s Self-Help justice


By Barb McKay

If you are looking for a remedy to the winter blahs, the Kincardine Theatre Guild’s production of Self-Help is the medicine you need.

Detective Snow, played by Steve Small, interviews a flustered Cindy Savage (Linda Pagnotta) in a scene from Self-Help. (Josh Howald photo)


Once again, KTG has taken a brilliant Norm Foster farce and managed to deliver laughs from start to finish. Jaki Mayer-Duggan directs this version with a cast that combines seasoned veterans with promising newcomers.

Self-Help is the story of a married couple, Hal and Cindy Savage (played by Fort Papalia and Linda Pagnotta), who dream of life beyond the stage of a small community theatre. Determined to get ahead in life they pose as self-help gurus and begin to rake in millions out of the pockets of others in search of self-improvement. When a dead body suddenly enters the picture they scramble to try and keep their ruse from unravelling.

Like other Foster plays, the dialogue in Self-Help is smart and witty, wrought with innuendos, and Papalia and Pagnotta overcame opening night jitters Friday to deliver it effortlessly.

Leise Peddie is hysterical as Bernice, the Savage’s housekeeper. She steals the show with her portrayal of the unassertive maid who works to gain confidence by using the Savage’s self-help books as guidance. (Her version of the character is somewhat reminiscent of the brilliantly funny character Manuel, from the British comedy Fawlty Towers.)

Stefanie Hutter gives a confident performance as Ruby Delvecchio, the Savage’s agent. Her comfort level on stage is remarkable, given that this is her first time performing. Casey Kenny is no stranger to community theatre, but this is his first time performing with KTG since moving to Kincardine. It is ironic that Kenny plays the role of Jeremy Cash, a hard-nosed newspaper columnist, as he works in media in real life. His portrayal of the conceited journalist definitely delivers some laughs.

Steve Small has worked with KTG over the past four seasons as the cast photographer, but auditioned this year and won the role of Detective Duncan Snow. Small not only acts the part, but looks it as well and his scene with Pagnotta is one of the funniest in the production.

Self-Help runs until March 8. For dates and tickets, call 519-396-9000.