Gladys in Wonderland, a laugh-out-loud comedy of senior home antics


Special to Okanagan Newspaper Group

Gladys in Wonderland, a Crossing Creek Community Theatre production, ran from Feb.16 to 20 at the Lions Community Hall in West Kelowna, under the directorship of Leanne Reimer, who has a true passion for community spirit.

This passion speaks volumes and is reciprocated by a team that gathers around her in support of this theatre company. It's wonderful to witness, as I did last week when I attended one of the shows.

Widow of 14 years, Gladys Overmeyer (Barb Kryski) is an 87-year-old vibrant woman who spends her days receiving visitors, reading the obituaries, and enjoying the sweeter things in life to include a daily chocolate dipped dough-nut with her coffee.

Gladys speaks her mind, eats what she fancies and when Mort, better known as the angel of death (Naomi Neukom), arrives at the door to inform Gladys that her time is up, she ends up striking a bargain to stay ... and so begins the journey of what is a funny, laugh-out-loud comedy of relatable truths pertaining to senior home antics, family dynamics and what our friends really think of us.

Partially narrated by Gladys’s daughter Doris (Marie MacKenzie), who pushes the story along in a natural believable way, with laughter as well as real thought provoking feelings especially at the top of act two, when Doris talks about the guilt of caring for an aging mum but still wanting her own space, which then leads to guilt in case mum goes while she is enjoying being gone.

Naomi Neukom, plays the Angel of death with a clean cut coolness and a subtle confidence that is compelling and very watchable. Her reactions are believable and not over-acted, she had a nice flow in her acting choices.

Barb Kryski, as Gladys, did a great job using a deadpan (excuse the pun) approach to win the audience over with wonderfully written dialogue. Home Care worker Denise (Tanya Morrison) introduced us to schtick about Gladys’s last name.

The show stopping scene was when Gladys tells Mort that she would like to try a old folks home and meets two old biddys, Ethal (Nancy Somerville) and Lillian (Linsae Cassidy) who had the audience in tears of laughter with their physical humour as well as the conversation happening between the three of them., pretending to be non-compos-mentis to avoid arts and craftswith paper toilet rolls or croqueting. Honestly, I giggled for the rest of the show. Loved it!

The rest of the cast supported the leads well and you could really feel that everyone on stage felt safe to explore their character in silly and comical ways.

John Erridge, as Gladys’s brother, did a great job as the lazy man who knows his wife will do it all so he rests, literally, in his laurels or anywhere else he can take a nap.

Karen (Trudy Unrau) and Henry (Derek Gardner) Gladys’s niece and nephew also were funny in patronizing ways. Karen brings old clothes to create patchwork while Henry is confused why his partner threw him out and he has to spend his time in a all-you-can-eat buffet.

Best friend Mildred (Evelin Mueller), who dressed in a fab outfit of colour, also spends her two cents telling Gladys to get her affairs in order and sister-in-law Myrna (Evelin Mueller)just wanted to clean and keep everything tidy to avoid any real feelings.

This production was dedicated to the loving memory of Colin Haddock who passed away suddenly. Colin was an ‘integral part of CCCT and will be missed.

Crossing Creek Community Theatre knows that it does take a village to stage a show and this is the company that can. If you feel like you want to be part of it, either on stage, back stage or in the audience, email them on and get on the mailing list to find out more opportunities.

REVIEW By BARB AGUIAR  Westside Weekly Wednwsday, JULY, 27th, 2022

History of dating explored in play

Crossing Creek Community Theatre’s production of The History of Dating which ran last week out-doors at Kalala Organic Estate Winery, illustrates that cheesy pick-up lines have been endured through the ages.

The comedy, written by Brian D. Taylor, was Crossing Creek’s fifth production and  year’s productions was COVID-19 restriction-free.

The comedy sees Professor Curio, played by Nancy omerville, along with Professor Amore, played by Elizabeth Flowers, take the audience on a trip back through time from cavemen to online dating. The cast of 10 took on multiple roles in 14 scenes.

Tyler Smilski delivers some of the worst pick up lines in history in Ancient Greece. Cupid, played by Anna Pickett, taught people in Ancient Rome to be careful what they wished for in love.

Some scenes played against type, including the Wild West in which the heroine, played by Michelle Hellernan, fends off the villain, played with relish by Colin Haddock, herself with no hero needed.

Kendra Holly Grant showed off her singing talent in the ’80s sketch in which she broke up with her boyfriend played by Tyler Smilski by mixtape. The pair had the audience laughing as they used ‘80s songs to play out the breakup. |

Another highlight was the take on online dating and included a comic visual of how some users are less than honest when creating their profile.

The grand finale took on speed dating and incorporated a recap of dating through the ages.

Crossing Creek is already looking ahead to its winter production, Gladys in Wonderland, described as a dark light comedy set for February 2023. For more information, go online to

REVIEW By BARB AGUIAR  Westside Weekly Wednwsday, Febrary, 23rd, 2022

The Carol Burnett Show

After a year’s delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crossing Creek Community Theatre, under the artistic direction of Leanne Reimer, brought the Carol Burnett Show to life last week in Grizzli Winery’s spacious tasting room.

Thanks to the relaxation of some of the COVID-19 restrictions, row seating was available for the performances. The cast wore clear face shields on stage.

The Carol Burnett Show, which featured comedy skits performed by Burnett, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence along with countless guest stars, ran on CBS from 1967 to 1978 for 279 episodes and again with nine episodes in 1991. It was one of the first of its kind to be hosted by a woman.

In 2019, Burnett released a group of 50 skits that could be performed on stage.

A dozen actors from Crossing Creek performed 10 of those skits which kept the audience laughing with the zany humour.

There was everything from rival car rental agents. duelling with dusters, a gang of bank robbers dumber than a bag of hammers and a send-up of 1970s disaster movies with the Early Early show’s Flight 13 to Nowhere.

Alice Portnoy, played by Marie Mackenzie, showed up in more than one skit. Possibly the world’s most obnoxious fireside girl, Portnoy was shaking down characters for donations.

As a nod to the 70s, the production featured groovy music in between skits and some far-out fashion.

While the Carol Burnett Show was a nostalgic trip down memory lane for some, the skits still entertained audience members who had not yet been born during the show’s original run on television.

The cast, including Valerie Sauve dressed as a French maid shimmying around the stage and Tyler Smilski grooming himself like a cat, looked like they were having fun with the skits and we saw some of the most enthusiastic set changers between skits.

As the curtains closed on the skits, there was plenty of ear tugging from the cast as they sang I'm So Glad We Had this TimeTogether, Burnett's signature sign-off song.

Much Ado About Nothing

Review by Anna Jacyszyn  September 29th in the Kelowna Daily Courrier

This weekend is your last chance to see Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing performed by West Kelowna’s amateur theatre company, Crossing Creek Community Theatre.

Secrets and trickery are the back-bone of this farce, and the humour and the double entendres are both risqué and ridiculous, which is why I laughed out loud so many times throughout the two-hour performance (with a 20-minute interval).

Artistic director Leanne Reimer cast 15 local actors, was well as herself playing the roles of Don Pedro, Prince Duke (Linsae Cassidy) and Hero (Brittany Campbell) are the two ladies that get caught inside these webs of lies, love

and deceit.

Each actor aforementioned had a good knowledge of the script and gave the audience the energy that these characters need in order to understand the poetic prose of Shakespeare, and the whole cast radiated a feeling of joy to be on stage performing.

I kept smiling throughout and applaud the hard work that went into their acting and costumes, as well as the stage, lighting and sound.

The company did a lot with little budget, but the greatest sets in the world cannot compete with the back-drop of our very own Okanagan Lakeand those stunning mountains from Kalala Organic Estate Winery, on the upper bench of West Kelowna.

Friday’s performance begins at 6:30 p.m. then Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

There is a food truck on hand to feed you and wine inside the tasting room

to quench you. |

I recommend bringing your own “sippy” cup with a lid as well as a fan to shoo away the fruit flies that will inevitably bombard you and try to get into your glass. ;

Bring your own chairs, too. Tickets are $25 at or

at the door with cash.

Anna Jacyszyn is an award-winning jazz singer.