Astor’s live comedy event focuses on great Canadian pastimes

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By Scott Costen

Two of Canada’s favourite pastimes, hockey and beer, are the focus of a live comedy event coming to the Astor Theatre in Liverpool Feb. 23.

Hockey Night at the Puck & Pickle Pub takes the audience to an imaginary watering hole where actors Ryan Gladstone and Jon Paterson play themselves — and all the other patrons in the bar.

As the action unfolds, Canada and the United States battle it out on TV for men’s hockey gold at the 2018 Olympic Games. Gladstone and Paterson add to the excitement and laughter by playing the roles of hockey commentators.

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Originally written and performed in advance of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, the production has been updated for this year’s games.

“It’s fiction that straddles reality,” said Astor general manager Andrew Bursey. “And we’ve timed this show to coincide with the actual Olympics.”

However, unlike the Olympics in South Korea, NHL players will still be on the ice for Hockey Night at the Puck & Pickle Pub.

“That’s an important part of the show,” said Paterson, who serves as the Astor’s technical director and (along with Bursey) its co-artistic director. “We want to do jokes about ‘Fat (Phil) Kessel’ or have Carey Price making a great save.”

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The original version of the production played to large audiences and rave reviews at fringe theatre festivals in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

The Liverpool audience will be treated to some updated material, topical additions and even some improvised local references. It will also be able to join in the pub atmosphere, since drinks from the Astor bar will be allowed into the theatre.

Tickets for Hockey Night at the Puck & Pickle Pub are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. A reduced rate is available for Winds of Change and Liverpool International Theatre Festival members.

Tickets can be purchased at the Astor box office or through TicketPro.

Doors will open at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23, with the show beginning at 7:30.

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