By Greg Nesteroff
Special to Rossland News
An unscheduled one-year break and last-minute casting change don’t seem to have diminished the fun of the Gold Fever Follies.
The annual Rossland tradition was a COVID casualty in 2020 but returns this summer with the usual array of madcap antics and can can dancers in a story that draws loosely on local history.
The entire eight-member cast of The Great Invention is strong in voice, making all of the songs enjoyable, but Daniel Merlo stands out as the magnificently mustachioed Col. Eugene Topping. He perfectly portrays the slightly befuddled capitalist who slowly realizes there are more riches in life than those found in a gold mine. His body language, in particular, is fun to watch.
Also worthy of special mention is Mimi Hicks as Ethel Padonka, whose crazy idea to increase mining production while winning herself a job underground gives the play its title, and Michaela McLean as Poppy Smits, who desperately wants to enter a skating competition despite her brother’s protests.
You’d never guess Rhythm Storm had less than a week to learn her role as Willamina (Billie) Esling, Topping’s executive assistant, after another cast member dropped out. Billie wants to start a newspaper, just as soon as she figures out what to call it.
Multi-talented music director Kevin Wasilenkoff appears as sad sack miner Roger Clemons and provides piano accompaniment. Jean Hart plays Roger’s long-suffering wife Sarah, who runs the Montreal Hotel and is directing a musical revue, including a play-within-a-play lampooning Topping’s avarice.
Landon Lafond and Konrad Lasocki appear as miners Jimmy Smits and Butch Manly, who have to cope with sudden unemployment and, in Butch’s case, some self-discovery.
You can catch the show Tuesday through Saturday at the Miners Hall at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Buy tickets at https://www.goldfeverfollies.com/online-tickets.