Summer theater is traditionally a time to put on light, comic fare and that’s a good reason to head for Coral Gables and take in Unnecessary Farce, which is the current offering at the Actor’s Playhouse at the Miracle Theater.
For those unschooled in the theatrical tradition of farce, the term denotes a comedic production that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and improbable, with plenty of plot twists, misunderstandings, and mistaken identities along the way.
Unnecessary Farce is a charming, witty, and skillfully directed example of this genre. It hangs its plot (such as it is) on the cavorting of a small and highly talented cast comprised mostly of veterans of the South Florida theater scene. (The casts of farces are traditionally small because it’s hard enough to comprehend everything that’s happening, let alone try to keep up with a number of people.)
The plot – such as it is – involves two cops; Eric Sheridan (Chris Crawford) who is handsome but inept, and Billie Dwyer (Jessica Brooke Sanford) who is sincere but overzealous. They team up with undercover agent Karen Brown (Katherine Amadeo), whose demure looks hide her steamy nature; she’ll stop at nothing to get intp (or under) the bed with Sheridan.
The trio out to entrap the town’s corrupt mayor (Allan Baker), but he is protected kind of) by his security detail, Agent Frank (Cliff Burgess), who is not the brightest bulb, and Elizabeth Dimon, the mayor’s dotty (or is she?) wife. Topping off farcical froth is Todd (Jim Ballard), a Scottish hit man whose ruthless streak can only be unleashed when he’s wearing his tartan.
The cast is aided by Gene Seyffer’s wonderful set, which is comprised of mirror image hotel rooms, because as any student of farce knows, the action depends on lots of entrances, exits, closets for hiding inand – in the case of Unnecessary Farce – beds to hop in – or under.
As directed by David Arisco, Unnecessary Farce, is fast, furious and downright hilarious. So if you are not a fan of farce, take heed, because if you go see this show, you could easily become one.
Unnecessary Farce runs through August 9.
More info: Actor’s Playhouse