Settle back for some laughs with Doris and Ivy in the Home

ST. JACOBS – Two women of a certain age become friends at a retirement home –  sounds like a barrel of laughs, doesn’t it? Although that’s the plot line of Doris and Ivy in the Home, written by Norm Foster and currently playing at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, it’s so much more.

Like the beloved Golden Girls of television, don’t underestimate these two old gals either, because their journey from wary acquaintances to best friends is a fun and thought-provoking look at life in the golden years.

Doris just moved into Paradise Village, where she meets Ivy, an unassuming former ski champion who had a very public fall from grace that she is trying to avoid talking about.

But Doris’s take-no-prisoners personality won’t leave her alone, and she pokes and prods until she gets Ivy to share the whole story.

The women go back and forth, revealing bits about themselves – Doris freely revealing everything about her life, from her husband’s impotence to her attitude towards men after a career as a prison guard. Ivy is more guarded, slowly telling about her humiliating ski incident after much cajoling and encouragement from Doris.

Added to the mix is Arthur, another resident of Paradise Village who is interested in Ivy romantically. After three failed marriages, Ivy is hesitant to try again. Of course, Doris is right in the middle of it, with more cajoling and encouragement.

And Doris is something; we all know a “Doris.” That person whose personality fills a room, whose comments cause both pearl-clutching and bemused laughter, who might be a little too brash and just a little too much sometimes, but you know that no matter what, she will always have your back. If you don’t know a Doris, maybe you are a Doris. And that’s not a bad thing!

Valerie Boyle gives it her all playing Doris, embodying the lively, “don’t give a #$%&” attitude that both annoys and endears her to Ivy. Elva Mai Hoover is lovely as the gentle Ivy, who learns to let loose and live again. Rob McClure rounds out the cast as the charming gentleman caller with problems of his own.

Whether Doris and Ivy are quietly talking about having (or not having) children, comparing retirement home names to current names (Ethel vs Riley), or riotously watching another senior couple knocking boots in the cucumber patch, the two women are a beautiful illustration of unconditional friendship.

Directed by David Nairn, Doris and Ivy in the Home has various afternoon and evening shows at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse until July 6 and at the Huron Country Playhouse from July 11-28. Call the box office at 519-747-7788 or toll-free at 1-855-drayton (372-9866) or online at

Marlene Ottens