Two years ago, Rob and Kris Riendeau (aka Humm Team Productions) presented their show Who Stole Christmas from Mississippi Mills at the Almonte Old Town Hall. That musical parody sold out all five performances and was a ton of fun for all involved. This December they are back with their new undertaking, Sketchy Santa. Rob Riendeau caught up with head writer of Humm Team Productions, Rob Riendeau, to get the inside scoop on the new show.
Rob Riendeau: So, what’s the inside scoop on the new show?
Rob Riendeau: Well, two years ago, we had so much fun putting on Who Stole Christmas that we immediately booked the Almonte Old Town Hall for two weekends in December of 2021. Our original plan was to put on another full-scale, big production, original musical. The pandemic kind of took the wind out of our sails for that show, but I do have a couple of scenes written and we will probably put it on one day.
Meanwhile, Kris and I stayed active theatrically over Zoom. I took some writing courses. Kris and I gave some writing workshops, and we presented an evening of short plays on Zoom for Hallowe’en last year. At some point, we decided that if it was at all possible, an evening of sketches at the Old Town Hall would be a fun and do-able project. I sort of envisaged a cross between Saturday Night Live and The Muppet Show.
What makes an evening of sketches a more do-able project?
Great question, Rob. By focusing on one sketch at a time, we could keep the rehearsals limited to a small group (with masks on). We were also able to make use of several of the sketches that I wrote during the lockdown that had never seen the light of day. And we were able to open up the writing to more people. This show features a sketch by Zach Brown, who participated in our writing workshop.
I have heard that Zach’s sketch is great! Really worth the price of admission all on its own. A real laugh riot! People are saying it will be the highlight of the show!
So, are there any other talented people involved in writing the show?
Umm… well… Kris Riendeau wrote a very funny sketch as well. And Mike McCormick, who was a big part of the success of Who Stole Christmas, wrote the music and reworked some of the lyrics for the song This Is Not a Musical in this show.
He fixed your lyrics?
I wouldn’t say “fixed”…
He would. So, is this a musical?
No, it is definitely not a musical! We just couldn’t afford the expense of doing music… as we explain in the big musical production number This Is Not a Musical.
So, no jingles like in Who Stole Christmas?
There might be a few jingles that sneak in from time to time.
Oh good! The Jingle Belles and the jingles were one of my favourite parts of the last show!
Yeah, I didn’t write those either. That was all Bonnie Valentyne.
She’s really funny!
How many more questions are there?
We’re nearly done. So, how can people get tickets?
People can head to <ticketsplease.ca> to order their tickets, or call 485–6434 if they want to go old school.
Do any of the proceeds go to a good cause?
Oh yes! This show is a fundraiser for Pop Up Puppets Up — the group that is currently working on bring the beloved puppet festival back to downtown Almonte in the summer of 2022!
Does that mean that there are hilarious puppeteers involved? I’m a big fan of Stephen Brathwaite’s comedic genius!
Yes. I think we’re done here.
Thanks Rob! Can’t wait to see the show. This is Rob Riendeau, signing off.