It’s been a long winter, and we’ve sat through some pretty heavy productions at our local theatres.
Thank god for 2nd Story, bringing us out of the winter doldrums with “The Dupe,” the hilarious French farce by Georges Feydeau.
You know from the opening curtain (and what a curtain set designer Trevor Elliott has given us, immediately setting a vaudeville-type atmosphere) and the clever approach to the customary house announcements, that you are in for 90 minutes of rollicking fun.
Director Ed Shea has taken the three-act play and condensed it to three scenes, with short songs in front of the curtain while quick scene changes are made.
“Quick” is the defining word for this rapid-paced production. Characters run in and out of the three doors that are carved out of gigantic Impressionist paintings (credit Candis Dixon and Ken Resseger), jump in and out of bed, exchange rapid-fire lines and tickle our funny bones at every turn.
The 16-member cast all have their comic timing down perfectly, never stopping to catch their collective breaths as they engage in infidelity, deception and outright lies – and we love them for it.
I must single out Ara Boghigian for his portrayal of Pontagnac, the lovable lecher who covets his friend Vatelin’s (Tom Bentley) wife, played saucily by Ashley Hunter Kenner.
Jeff Church has all of the physical moves and reactions down as the amorous bachelor, Redillon, who has met a young lady he has not wanted to seduce.
There’s mistaken identities galore as husbands and wives become embroiled in affairs leading to close calls in hotel rooms.
Shea has updated some of the language and keeps the action moving so fast that you may miss a couple of lines. The double entendres and puns are hilarious, as is the misunderstanding of the word “puberty,” which is a big howl.
Feydeau throws in an elderly couple played to the hilt by Jim Sullivan and Pam Faulkner, setting the scene for uncontrollable laughter, most caused by the wife’s deafness.
And wait until John Michael Richardson arrives as Gerome, Redillon’s butler. If you think you have laughed enough for one evening, Richardson will give you another big dose.
If you are familiar the Feydeau and his tongue-in-cheek farces, usually revolving around sexual encounters, you know where he will be taking you. While the actions and dialogue are “naughty,” they are all so silly and loaded with double entendres that you can’t wait for what is coming next.
“The Dupe” is required viewing for all who want to sit back, relax and laugh their heads off. At 2nd Story theatre through April 15, tickets are $25, which is about a dime a laugh. Call 247-4200 for reservations.