Act II Playhouse’s production of Unnecessary Farce by Paul Smith Slade is boisterous, funny, chaotic and a wonderfully done farce. According to a press release from Act II Playhouse, this show has “Two Cops. Three Crooks. Eight Doors. One Killer in a Kilt.” Without giving too much away, this show is about an undercover cop and a rookie cop who are prepared to take down a corrupt mayor, but just like in any good farce, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Unnecessary Farce at Act II Playhouse is a delightfully amusing show that will have audiences laughing throughout the show.
Unnecessary Farce, directed by David Bradley, has an incredible cast that keeps the audience in stitches. Anthony Lawton plays the undercover cop, Eric. Playing his partner, Billie, is Karen Peakes. The scenes with Lawton and Peakes are hysterical with their silly antics and outlandish physicality. Susan McKey plays Karen, the all-business accountant. What I loved about McKey’s performance is she is clever and quick-witted. Tom Teti plays Mayor Meekly, the talkative simple-minded mayor. This character adds to the humor of the show by simply showing up in situations where he does not belong and never seemingly realizing the actual meaning of what is happening before him. Teti perfectly portrays the good humored and obtuse mayor with excellent comedic timing and expressive body language. Playing Mayor Meekly’s wife, Mary, is Gerri Weagraff. Weagraff plays this role with grace, and although Mary appears sweet and innocent, we find that there is more to her by the end of the play. Akeem Davis plays Agent Frank, a member of the Mayor’s security team. Davis’s antics had the audience in hysterics the night I attended the production. Davis’s performance throughout the show is animated and energetic, and his performance is highly amusing. Rounding out this fantastic cast is Jake Blouch who plays Todd, the kilt-wearing assassin. Blouch’s Scottish dialect is over the top, and is a riot when it gets out of control. Neil Simon, referring to a farce, wrote in his memoir, “At the final curtain, the audience must be as spent as the actors, who by now are on oxygen support.” This production of Unnecessary Farce does exactly this by executing a show that balances timing, wit and physical humor for the audiences’ enjoyment.
In a farce such as this one, there must be an abundance of doors. Set Designer Colin McIlvaine designed a superb set of two adjoining motel rooms and of course, eight doors all ready for slamming. The Costume Designer is Katherine Fritz. The Sound Designer is Christopher Colucci and the Lighting Designer is James Leitner. In addition, Samantha Bellomo is the Fight Director.
Unnecessary Farce runs at Act II Playhouse through March 29, 2015. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.act2.org or call the box office at (215) 654-0200.
Photo Credit: Mark Garvin
Final Thought: Unnecessary Farce at Act II Playhouse is a delightfully amusing show that balances timing, wit and physical humor for the audiences’ enjoyment.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online sites broadwayworld.com and Fig Lancaster. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.