Madly off in our direction

Lorne Elliott at Centre 64 in Kimberley, April 13.

Lorne Elliott had them in stitches at Centre 64 last Sunday.

Lorne Elliott had them in stitches at Centre 64 last Sunday.

Mike Redfern

Sunday night in the theatre at Centre 64, 100 expectant people in the audience, house lights dim, stage lights illuminating a tall figure at the microphone, baggy black slacks and loose, open-necked white shirt, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, shaggy grey hair like a mane, a wry expression on his mobile features and a small guitar clutched in one hand.

He looked at us and we looked at him and anticipation heightened even before he spoke. And then for the next two hours, interrupted only by a 20 minute intermission, Lorne Elliott held us in convulsions of laughter.

Currently on tour through small towns in the B.C. Interior, comedian, songwriter, and novelist Lorne Elliott made a stop in Kimberley and reminded us of why we hung onto his every word for a decade or more during his weekly CBC Radio show, ‘Madly Off In All Directions’. And he made us realize how much of his humour we had missed back then by only hearing him, for in person, larger than life on stage, his physical humour and facial expressions proved to be a delight in themselves.

On Sunday night, as he illustrated the difficulty of trying to hold his socks up with a bungy cord threaded through holes in his trouser pockets, well, you had to see the body language to truly appreciate the farcical nature of the story.

There seem to be few aspects of life that Lorne Elliott cannot find humour in. From the prime minister’s smile to death by carnivorous wild animals, from polygamists in Creston to Bavarian ideologists in Kimberley, Elliott slyly mocked everyone and everything, much to the delight of his audience.

And when he picked up his guitar and sang us some of his songs, his lyrics were as funny as his patter. I’ll never look at an orca the same way again after hearing his killer whale song. And as for his moose call song, well, you just had to be there, I suppose, to see those honks and brays emerge from the moose-like contortions of his elastic mouth.

Often seeming to lose track of where he was going with a subject, he called on members of the audience to remind him and the interactions that sometimes followed became a comedy routine in themselves. “He was very clever,” commented one audience member. “Intentionally ‘getting lost’ and asking for help gave him scope to wander but to always make a fresh start when brought back.”

Looking back on his performance I am both awed and bemused by the way in which this brilliant comedian held our attention and kept us laughing for so long by just standing on stage in a relaxed manner, prattling on about this and that in conversational mode, making off-hand observations about the things that people say and do seem extraordinarily funny. It was all in the delivery which, I suppose, is why most of us are not comedians.

“I prefer his relaxed, somewhat dry delivery to a loudmouth, slapstick approach (to comedy),” commented an audience member. A preference shared by 99 others on Sunday night, it appeared, judging from the continuous laughter.

Coming next to the Theatre at Centre 64 are Indian tabla musicians, The Mishras, returning for a third or fourth appearance here on May 24. They will be followed on May 31 by boogie-woogie blues pianist Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne who will perform in a cabaret-style evening in the dance studio at Centre 64. Tickets for both events are available at Centre 64 and on line at www.kimberleyarts.com.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read