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Kitchen Witches casting spell on First Friday

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Cathy Dobson  

When Ruth Francoeur landed the lead role of Dolly Biddle in Theatre Sarnia’s upcoming production of The Kitchen Witches, she decided to make the most of the experience.

“This is just a really fun play,” she said. “We’re having such a good time, I think we spend more time laughing than rehearsing.”

Francoeur is not only on stage, she’s also co-producer and a key player in creating a promotional event on March 4 that’s free to the whole community. Few local plays are promoted with a full-fledged event prior to the show.

“It takes a lot of work,” admitted Francoeur.  “But cast and crew wanted to make it happen.”

The Kitchen Witches is an award winning comedy written by Canadian playwright Caroline Smith.

It’s about two women, Isobel Lomax, played by Sarnia’s Jennifer Arthurs Murray, and Dolly Biddle played by Francoeur.  They are longtime rivals thrown together to host a cable-access cooking show called The Kitchen Witches.

As the official promo says, once the camera is rolling the insults are flung harder than the food. Dolly’s son Stephen, played by Cam Shipley, is caught in the middle as he is the TV show’s producer.  Rounding out the small cast is Eve Vritsios, who is a camera girl named J.J.

“It’s a great cast and very funny script,” said Francoeur. “We break the fourth wall of theatre with a lot of interaction with the audience, which means there’s a lot of ad-libbing and a lot of laughs.”

When The Kitchen Witches was chosen as this season’s fourth production, everyone agreed a cookbook should be produced for it, said Francoeur.

On March 4 – which happens to be First Friday in downtown Sarnia – 1,000 copies of the cookbook will be ready for sale at $10 apiece. It’s a collection of 40 recipes featuring dishes mentioned in the play, like Steak and Kidney Pie and Burning of Atlanta Spare Ribs, as well as cast and crew specialties.

“Cam’s favourite cocktails are also in there and I have contributed my famous Triple Chocolate Skor Crack Cookies,” said Francoeur.

Along with cookbook sales, the First Friday event features a culinary marketplace with seven food vendors set up in The Imperial Theatre lobby. They include The Ice Creamery, Epicure, The Pampered Chef, Tupperware, David’s Tea, Totally Game Meats and Medusa Imports.

Vendors will sell their products, offering free samples and donating door prizes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  At 7:30 p.m. a short “snippet” from the play will be presented. Cast members are happy to sign the cookbooks, said Francoeur.

“This is a promotion for our play and we hope it will also be a bit of a fundraiser to cover the cost of the cookbooks and maybe make some money,” she said.

Tickets for The Kitchen Witches, which plays seven dates beginning April 8, are already on sale at The Imperial Theatre’s ticket office or online at   http://www.imperialtheatre.net/our-theatre/ticket-information.


WHAT: A special promo night for The Kitchen Witches Theatre Sarnia production.

WHEN: Friday, March 4, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

WHERE: Imperial Theatre lobby, 168 Christina St. N.

COST: Free admission to culinary marketplace, sneak peek of play, samples. Cash bar.



The Arts Journal features stories relevant to the cultural fabric of our community. If you have an idea, contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.

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