Sin City creates bedlam by the sea

Think Coronation Street, Fawlty Towers, The Full Monty, Calendar Girls and maybe even a dash of Downton Abbey.

Cover 3902 - Christina Patterson, (left), Kirsten Van Ritzen, Christine Upright and Karen Brelsford are just four of the stars of Sin City's newest comedy serial.

Follow the cast of Sin City to a hotel-pub in a quaint seaside English village in Bedlam-by-Sea, the third season of this wildly popular weekly improvised comedy serial.

Think Coronation Street, Fawlty Towers, The Full Monty, Calendar Girls and maybe even a dash of Downton Abbey.

Opening Tues., Jan. 15, and continuing for the next 20 weeks, the 10-person cast of wallys, tinkers, nutters and chavs will create a complex soap-opera-style drama that will not only make you laugh — it will also make you cry — often simultaneously.

“It’s not straight up comedy,” says cast member Karen Brelsford. “There’s also that underlying element of real people going through the whole thing … There’s real emotion and complete silliness.”

Brelsford, who played the character Purdy in last season’s Carnies will transform from the innocent, abandoned celestial side show hypnotist into a more sexy, edgy, rock ‘n’ roll kind of girl.

“I wanted something very different from last season,” says Brelsford. “Purdy was so innocent and young … she was pale and white and I want something wild and fun, you know, the opposite of how I dress everyday.”

With eyes lined in thick black makeup, legs clad in fishnet stockings and a scant outfit covered in safety pins, it seems Brelsford is having no trouble adapting.

“Since this season is set in a remote seaside resort, she’s out of her element,” says Brelsford of one of the only things she’s decided about her character before the show begins.

Sin City co-founder (along with director Ian Ferguson) and cast member Kirsten Van Ritzen (who played Serpentine Snake Lady Ava Garter in Carnies) returns as a mild-mannered maid in Bedlam-by-Sea.

Van Ritzen’s so far nameless character will be a local, someone who’s lived in the peculiar little town all her life. “She’s going to have this bird-like physicality,” says Van Ritzen.

The cast also includes Morgan Cranny, Wes Borg, Christina Patterson, Robert Conway, Christine Upright, Chris Gabel, Bill Nance, Alan Penty and Charlie DePape.

Sin City BedlamAside from a brief character-building workshop last weekend, the cast and crew have been keeping their distance (and silence) about their ideas for the show. The preview (Tues., Jan. 8 at 8pm) was the first time the characters met each other and interacted, and you can be there to watch the hilarity as the story unfolds.

The serial premieres Tues., Jan. 15 and will run weekly, each Tuesday night, until May 28 for a total of 21 shows — each one completely improvised, including direction by Ian Ferguson, lights by technical director Theodore R. Sherman and new musical director Alexander Brendan Ferguson (no relation to Ian) on live musical scores and songs.

Broad Theatrics made its Sin City debut in Victoria in February 2011 with Die-Nasty, which followed the hi-jinks of the wealthy Craigdarrochmactavish family in the ’80s. For season two, Carnies followed the lives of a strange group of sideshow performers as they travelled the prairie dustbowl during the Great Depression. Nominated for an M Award for Favourite New Production, season two was held-over for an extended run due to its overwhelming popularity.

Single tickets are $15/12, or buy a Hotel Room Key package (six admissions, transferrable) for $60. The Season Euro-Pass (non-transferable) is $150. All tickets are cash only at the door. M

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