It started in blackness and it will end in blackness…this is the theory behind the creation of our universe and also just about any theatrical production you have ever been too. It is also the shepherd’s or, debatably, the ‘sheepherder’s’ theory of the world as seen in Ruby Slippers ‘Hotel Bethlehem,’ currently playing at The Firehall Arts Centre until December 23rd. Wise words indeed, only they didn’t come from any wise men!
Enter (not literally) Basil Fawlty, the Virgin Mary and numerous Panto like dames and you’ve only just begun to imagine the chaotic cosmos that exists within the walls of Hotel Bethlehem. Technically an ‘Inn’ (legally only allowed 6 rooms) but operating as a hotel, the fatuous fawlty like hotel owners are in the midst of a mad scramble around to hide this fact in the wake of census taker’s surprise visit.
After securing numerous ‘Broom closet’ signs to various rooms they end up being without a bed for a very pregnant stranger who ultimately ends up giving birth in a stable…sound vaguely familiar? Well the tale of Jesus’s birth has some similarities to the biblical version but Ruby slippers would like to offer you a slightly updated story…
The play reads just like a fawlty episode- the hilarious Joshua emanates John Cleese’s physical comedy perfectly and, along with his wife, continuously attempt to cover up mishaps and appear cool, calm and collected; they welcome numerous unexpected guests and endeavour to suppress a stress induced sweat throughout.
Using contemporary language, phrases and references, the production has been continuously produced for a reason; If you are looking for a funny farce this Christmas then check out ( but not into!) Hotel Bethlehem.
Disclaimer: As a theatre blogger for GVPTA, my ticket was provided free of charge to this production. That being said, opinions and statements made are my own. This is not a review, but a post meant to promote discussion within the Vancouver Theatre Community. GVPTA supports its member companies.