By Diva Shari Parsons
GRAND BEND – Slapstick comedy was front and centre at the Huron Country Playhouse II during the opening night of Paul Slade Smith’s play, Unnecessary Farce.
Sean Elliot directs a high-energy production with lots of physicality, slamming doors, burlesque humour, and slapstick comedy as two bumbling police officers and an accountant work together to try to prove that the town mayor has embezzled municipal funds.
One of my favourite scenes was when Constable Billie Dwyer, well played by Kristen Peace, tries to escape from the motel room while being gagged and bound. My muscles were aching just watching her manoeuvres!
Kristen also did an amazing job with one incredibly long, rapid, breath taking piece of dialogue that left us all amazed and gasping for breath.
I admired the self-confidence of Jayme Armstrong, playing the character of accountant Miss Karen Brown, who had to disrobe, not just once, but several times! And yes, I envied her lithe figure.
Ted Simonett, as the slightly bumbling Mayor Meekly, reminded me of an older Andy Griffith.
Valerie Boyle provides a surprise twist of character and plot as Mayor Meekly’s “charming” wife, Mary.
David Leyshon portrays a somewhat ineffective and tongue-tied, yet sort of sweet, police officer, Eric Sheridan. His “getting dressed” routine was quite humorous.
Ralph Small put his heart, and by the look of his red face, all his high blood pressure, into the character of Todd “The Scotsman”, an assassin who kills people by playing his bagpipes. He looked quite fearsome when dressed in all his Scottish kilt and Busby hat! And I don’t know how he managed to wrap his tongue around all those Gaelic curse words!
I think my favourite character portrayal was Keith Savage as Agent Frank. His long legs, lanky movements and confused expressions reminded me of an American version of Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame.
The set design of two adjoining hotel rooms was very well done. In fact, a friend who accompanied me to the play commented that there was something wrong when the play set had better bedding then she did!
Unnecessary Farce plays at the Huron Country Playhouse II until July 2nd.
Tickets, $44 regular, $36 preview, $26 youth under 20, are available by calling the box office at 1-855-372-9866 or visiting online.