It was right around the moment that Mr. Lahey (John Dunsworth) straddled an unsuspecting member of the audience on the stage floor and slurped a (fake) shot of liquor from his belly button that it dawned on me - Mr. Lahey has a drinking problem.
Or maybe it was the hidden flask in his belt buckle. Or the way he slurred the words Randy Bo-Bandy to address his colleague (Patrick Roach), the humorously daft assistant supervisor.
Randy and Mr. Lahey's West Coast Oddity tour stumbled across the Coast last weekend, with four shows from Gibsons to Powell River. Combining their East Coast-styled Trailer Park Boys characters with a mixture of prop comedy, the supervisor and his assistant first entertained a crowd at the Heritage Playhouse on Feb. 9.
It began with Randy, who emerged alone against a backdrop of props adorning the stage, including a bottle of honey, several funnels, black leather gloves, various super hero costumes and a package of Holy Crap cereal.
There was an instant sense that he felt a tad uncomfortable as he scratched at his hairy chest, his notorious trailer park assistant supervisor uniform seemingly painted on his body.
Apparently Mr. Lahey had instructed him to be on his best behaviour.
"You've got to wear a shirt, Randy, and be respectable. You can't go out there all covered in onion grease," were his instructions. Apparently Lahey "hadn't even had his Baileys and coffee yet."
But Lahey doesn't have a problem with drinking, Randy insists, "the liquor's got a problem with Lahey, not the other way around."
After a few stories from Sunnyvale and some friendly banter with the audience, Randy called up his comrade on the walkie-talkie. Lahey fumbled his way through the back curtain amidst cheers, heckles and the sound of goat noises from the audience.
It didn't take long for Randy, usually quite slow on the uptake, to realize that Lahey's conspicuous belt buckle flask wasn't actually a cell phone - and he wasn't really on the phone with his doctor.
It seemed Mr. Lahey had been drinking again.
"That's straight liquor!" He cried in dismay. "That's it, I'm taking off my shirt!" Loud cheers from the audience ensued as Randy assumed a more familiar appearance.
During the intermission, the character of Mr. Lahey momentarily gave way to John Dunsworth - but if you were to blink, you'd have missed it.
The actor stood at the base of the stairs to speak with lingering audience members during the break, sharing thoughts on his family and fellow cast members. As the conversation continued, his words became increasingly slurred until it was obvious, Dunsworth was gone and Lahey had taken over.
Indeed, the line between Dunsworth and his character appeared as blurry as Lahey's vision as he stumbled back to join Randy on stage.
But the two were also quite educational. At one point Randy showed the audience how to use their stomachs as three-piece drum sets. For Lahey, the lesson was how to win over a nice lady.
Inviting a front-row woman from the audience for his demonstration, Lahey gave her "a nice non-invasive massage," while smelling her hair and complimenting her beauty.
"Mr. Lahey, I've never seen a massage like that!" Randy protested.
See Justin Samson's "Voice of the Sunshine Coast's" photo gallery in the Coast Reporter coverage of the kickoff of "Randy and Mr. Lahey's West Coast Oddity Tour" at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons, British Columbia Feb. 9 at: http://goo.gl/TAZrT