Bring on the guns and guffaws--you'll need a scorecard to keep track of the cops, crooks and kooks
By Maggie Kulbokas
They call it a farce for a reason. It'sover the top, fast-paced and funny. And 2011 at the Cape Playhouse will end in a blur as"Unnecessary Farce" closes out this very strong season. The laugh out loud comedy by Paul SladeSmith, stars a handful of returning Cape Playhouse favorites.
Set in a seedy motel with connectingrooms, "Unnecessary Farce" has more action than a finals match at Wimbledon.
A farce is defined my Merriam Websteras "a light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbableplot"--and that is "Unnecessary Farce" to a tee. Tagged as "Two cops. Three crooks. Eight doors. Go.",It's more like eight doors, seven kooky characters, two rooms and non-stop shenanigans.
Officers Billie Dwyer (Jennifer Cody)and Eric Sheridan (John Scherer) are on routine assignment: videotapea meeting between the rat--Mayor Meekly (Brad Bellamy), who thedepartment believes has embezzled $16 million, and the bait--the town's newsharp and sexy accountant, Karen Brown (Dee Hoty). Although they mean well, Policeacademy rejects, Billie and Eric, are clearly not the right cops forthis job. Billie's afraid of her own shadow, never mind guns and Erichas about as much self confidence as the Cowardly Lion (pre-Wizard).
As the sting starts, Billie is undercover in her uniform,the mayor wanders off before his big confession, Eric's distracted and Karen can't seem to keepher clothes on. Enter the twitchy Agent Frank (Michael McGrath) who tries towarn off Karen with outlandish tales of a unlikely mafia don and atremendously tense hitman named Todd (Jeremy Webb) and they're off.
Much like the quintessential Britishfarce, "Noises Off", "Unnecessary Farce" is a cacophony of slamming doors, sexual innuendo,mistaken identity and missing clothing.
As an ensemble, the cast possesses thekey element of comedic timing--the show just wouldn't work without it. The stage is often a blurof constant motion, with scenes performed simultaneously and dialoguedelivered at a machine gun clip.
But if anybody is guilty of thieving in this cop comedy, it'sJennifer Cody as Billie, who should be cuffed and booked for stealingthe show. She's a compact bundle of giggles--with a comedic stylereminiscent of "Saturday Night Live" veteran Cheri Oteri.
Set designers are rarely ever praised for what isn't on stage--but Ray Klausen's "invisible" wall managed to allow fluid motion across the stage, while at the same time, making the two hotel rooms seem completely separate and private, except for the surveillance equipment, of course.
"Unnecessary Farce" may beimprobable and irreverent, but it is also funny and delivered at a fever pitch--a great way to bid theDennis stage adieu until next season.
"Unnecessary Farce" runs now through September 3, Monday through Saturday at 8pm with matinees on Wednesday and the second Thursday at 2pm and the first Saturday at 4pm. The Cape Playhouse is at 820 Route 6A in Dennis Village. Tickets and ticket subscriptions are available at the box office at 508-385-3911.