Pat (Tim Behrens) leaps to new heights to tell a story in McManus in Love

Pat (Tim Behrens) leaps to new heights to tell a story in McManus in Love

Love is a many and woodsy thing

Humour writer’s stories come to life in McManus in Love

  • Mar. 9, 2011 7:00 a.m.

It’s a few weeks since Valentine’s Day, but at least someone is still in love.

The humorous foibles written by Patrick F. McManus are returning to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre stage with the latest chapter McManus In Love, Saturday.

Actor Tim Behrens once again weaves McManus’ tales of growing up in rural America into a truly hilarious evening of childhood memories.

“Last year he delighted the audience with A Fine and Pleasant Misery, a two-act play about boys wanting to become mountain men, if only it weren’t for that pesky fear of the dark,” said Brian van Wensem, audience coodinator at the Performing Arts Centre.

McManus in Love is another one-man comedy  written by the nationally renowned humour writer, best known for his books and columns in Field and Stream and Outdoor Life, where many of his characters first appeared.

In this latest installment, McManus writes how a fear of the dark is absolutely nothing compared to a fear of girls!

Behrens, who portrays an entourage of 15 zany characters including a bat, a bear, a bicycle and an even stranger assortment of humans, will take the audience on a hilarious romp through the maze of self-torture we all go through when we begin to date.

Some familiar characters will also turn up.

Personal grooming tips will be provided by the old woodsman, Rancid Crabtree, who takes a bath once every leap year based on the theory that a mixture of soap and water will eat holes in your protective crust, while dating moves will come from cousin Buck, who grew up to be only slightly smarter than celery.

Then there’s young Pat, who will go on his first movie date with none other than Melba Peachbottom, the prettiest girl in the county.

Compared as a cross between Bill Cosby and Mark Twain, McManus’ family-friendly stories about growing up dirt poor (dirt being the only toy you can afford) in rural America have sold more than six million copies worldwide. Five of his collections of short stories and columns have made the top 10 of The New York Times bestseller’s list.

McManus writes mostly about his outdoor adventures from childhood. Many of his books, including They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?, A Fine and Pleasant Misery, Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink, and Kerplunk! are collections of his columns.

His plays, performed by Behrens, were originally conceived in 1992 and have had more than 400,000 audience members in waves of laughter through 1,200 performances.

“His writing, coupled with Behrens’ stage presence, ignites the imagination. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the great outdoors (and those who haven’t) will be able to connect what’s happening on stage to their own wild and fun memories,” said van Wensem.

The fourth of five shows in the Performing Arts Centre’s 2010/2011 theatre series, McManus In Love takes the stage Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30/adult, $27/senior and $25/student at the Ticket Seller, 549-7469,