The dysfunctional ad hoc family of the comedy “Humble Boy”: George (Jon Faris), Mercy (Adele Bailey), Felix (Connor Berkmann), Rosie (Nicole Abbott), Jim (Ross Stephanson) and Flora (Ruthie Tilston) enjoy a rare peaceful toast.  (Photo Credit:  Terry Penney)

Courtenay Little Theatre’s production of “Humble Boy” by Charlotte Jones promises to be one that will both challenge and amuse Comox Valley audiences. Be sure to book your seats early for this award-winning play from the West End of London, which enjoy a six performance run at the Sid Williams Theatre April 6th to 13th.

“Humble Boy” is the club’s entry in the North Island Zone Theatre Festival, which is being held in May in Nanaimo. Last season, Courtenay Little Theatre’s production of “The Drawer Boy” by Michael Healey went on to win Best Production and four other top awards at both the NIZ Theatre Festival and, subsequently, Theatre BC’s Provincial Mainstage Festival in Vernon.

Felix Humble, an insecure theoretical astrophysicist from Cambridge, played by Connor Berkmann, is the lead character in this expressionist comedy, which borrows liberally from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Felix returns home to his family’s countryside estate in England after the sudden death of his father, a beekeeper, to find that his narcissistic mother, Flora (Ruthie Tilston) is intending to marry her obnoxious neighbor, George Pye (played by Jon Faris). Things get further complicated when Felix encounters George’s daughter, Rosie (Nicole Abbott), his former girlfriend, who has surprising news for him. Add into the mix a muddled friend of Flora’s who serves more as a servant, Mercy Lott (played by Adele Bailey) and an eerie gardener, Jim (Ross Stephanson) and the stew of impending madness begins to boil.

Director Bill Walton says he had secretly wanted to direct “Humble Boy” for the past six years. Knowing that CLT has a healthy supply of good actors and a commitment to doing good quality drama, he put his hat in the ring more than a year ago, in answer to a CLT call for directing proposals. Walton also previously directed “The Winslow Boy” for CLT and has directed several shows recently for Rivercity Players in Campbell River. “I just had a feeling that this was a CLT type of show,” Walton enthused at a recent rehearsal, “because the Comox Valley also has the kind of audiences that will appreciate a play which combines beekeeping, “Hamlet”, string theory, and various other eclectic bits, all wrapped up in a comedy which has been compared to the works of Tom Stoppard or Alan Ayckbourn.” “Humble Boy” is also potentially more controversial than many CLT productions, carrying the caution that “this show contains language and adult themes that some may find offensive.” In any case, this play, which won 2000-2001 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize as well as The Critics’ Circle Best New Play Award and People’s Choice Best New Play Award in England’s West End, is bound to set the Comox Valley abuzz.

Tickets for “Humble Boy” are available at the Sid Williams Theatre Ticket Centre, 442 Cliffe Avenue, by phone (250) 338-2430 ext. 1, or online at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com. The show runs for six performances April 6th to 13th, individual tickets are $25 evening, $23 matinée.