July 20th, 2018

Review: Satirical hilarity in MHMT’s ‘Reefer Madness’

By Medicine Hat News on April 13, 2018.


If your goal is to start a panic among the ill-informed you can’t be afraid to stretch to the truth. You know, just a little bit, like telling parents that marijuana will turn their sweet, innocent, wholesome teenagers into people who would fit right in on “The Walking Dead.”

That’s what you get in the opening number of “Reefer Madness,” presented by Medicine Hat Musical Theatre this month. The show’s media night performance took place Wednesday and runs for six dates beginning tonight and ending on April 28.

The musical satire of a cult classic movie that is itself based on a real 1936 propaganda film meant to be shown to parents to inform them of the dangers of marijuana is filled with laughs, upbeat and melancholy musical numbers and a healthy dose of over-the-top exhibitions of what happens when someone smokes the “demon weed.”

The story follows Jimmy Harper (played by Isaac Risling) and his descent from stand-up teenage boy to death row inmate, all thanks to his toking up. Along the way he runs off on his love Mary Lane (Amie Weisgerber) but not before a wild orgy, a homicide and other forms of debauchery. Selling your baby and a potty mouth are among other things reefer will cause.

Rob Olson as the stern and sober Lecturer and Stephen Philpott as a rock ‘n’ roll style Jesus are two performances that stand above. Risling and Weisgerber as the teenage leads do as well, and both go full bore as teens succumbing to weed’s effects.

The show’s final number “The Truth” is a tongue-in-cheek rundown of other “social ills” professional busybodies like the Lecturer will attempt to tackle. You’ll recognize more than a few.

The show is PG-13 and so parents are advised not to bring young children.

Tickets, $35 plus GST, are still available for most shows by calling 403-502-3477 and athttp://www.mhmtheatre.comMore information is available on the website.

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