There are two small town cops and a pyramid of donuts. There’s an oversexed and under-loved accountant who keeps removing her clothing. There’s an embezzling mayor. There are two bedrooms–make that two adjoining budget motel rooms–with interesting hardware on the headboards.
Throw in a Highland hit man decked out in Scottish ceremonial gear, a security guy with a lisp, and a seemingly confused mayor’s wife, and you’ve got the Portland area premier of Paul Slade Smith’s Unnecessary Farce, the 2015-2016 Season opener at Lakewood Theatre in Lake Oswego.
And what a farce it is! In the tradition of French bedroom farces (George Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear comes readily to mind), this play focuses on buffoonery, horseplay, and ludicrously improbable situations filled with sexual innuendo and ridiculous pairings.
More than romantic buffoonery, however, the play is also a mystery in which the cops (Billie played by Carrie Morgan and Eric played by Jake Simonds) are part of a sting designed to catch an allegedly embezzling mayor (Don Stewart Burns), whose cooked books show an alarming delta of $16 million.
The meeting between the mayor and the new city accountant Karen (Olivia Shimkus) is set at a motel room. Next door the two cops install the appropriate video devices to enable them to record the meeting in the adjoining room. But once Karen sets eyes on young Eric, she’s in lust. It’s a motel room after all, so she begins disrobing and we’re off to the races! The head of security (Ashton Root) is horrified by these goings-on. The mayor’s wife (Victoria Blake) only wants to locate her husband. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Todd the hit man (Ethan LaFrance) shows up with kilt, bagpipes, guns, a funny accent, and an even funnier hat!
In this play, what people see on the video as they race between bedrooms, is far more exciting than the slamming of doors–all eight of them. And, with the unexpected arrival of Todd, things begin to unravel more quickly than Karen can shed her clothing. They continue to unravel until the curtain falls on this uproariously funny play.
For a comedy like this to work–and it does exquisitely well–timing must be impeccable. Kudos to veteran director Michael Snider for somehow making sense of the madness. And a toast to the cast and crew for an absolutely fun evening!
Unnecessary Farce opened July 10 and runs through August 16.