Theatre pokes fun at deadly topic

"I didn't think I could laugh one ounce about cancer. So thank you…"

Picture Cancer as a smarmy egotist in a grotesquely lumpy gold lamé bodysuit. Picture him pouring blueberry vodka as “anti-oxidant martinis.” (He takes a sip, cries “It burns!” then flashes a devilish grin.)

Picture him paying tribute to one of his lost loves, singing Mr. Bojangles with the crooked mouth and curling vowels of Sammy Davis, Jr.

Picture him going into a foul-mouthed rage when he suddenly realizes people hate him. (“The chemotherapy and the radiation, that’s not just playing hard to get?”)

This Is Cancer is antic and oddball, often gleefully profane as it pokes for jokes in the most painful places. For all its rough-edged and often uproarious humor, though, it’s also poignant and personal.

As much as Horak dislikes the practice of “therapy onstage,” as he put it in a recent interview, the show clearly serves a therapeutic function for some audience members. Said a woman during a post-show chat: “I didn’t think I could laugh one ounce about cancer. So thank you for letting me laugh for the first time in a long time. But thank you also for letting me cry, too. Because I really needed to.” — Marty Hughley, The Oregonian.

This is Cancer is a PKF Production performed by Bruce Horak and Rebecca Northan, directed by Rebecca Northan.

It runs Friday and Saturday, Feb 1 and 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mary Irwin Theatre in the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Tickets: $30/adult, $10/student at Rotary Centre for the Arts box office, 421 Cawston Ave. in Kelowna, or call 250-717-5304 or at visit

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