note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Beverly Creasey
I adore Alan Ayckbourn. Iíd travel to the ends of the earth to see his entire THE NORMAN CONQUESTS trilogy again. Lucky me. I donít have to, (to see part of it anyway) because TABLE MANNERS is getting a delicious production through July 3rd at Gloucester Stage.
Director Eric Engelís cast isnít British but theyíre as close to comic perfection as you can get on this side of the pond. Ayckbournís naughty little farces need a light touch and consummate timing---which Gloucester Stage delivers in spades.
Itís nothing short of sheer delight watching Steven Barkhimer as the incorrigible ďgigolo trapped in a haystackĒ trying to seduce every woman in the play. And right under the noses of the menfolk, to boot! Richard Snee is totally oblivious of Normanís advances on his high strung wife: What fun witnessing the thawing of Lindsay Crouseís snooty, disapproving prude.
Barlow Adamson gives a tour de force performance as the clueless veterinarian Sarah Newhouse wishes would show her some affection. Just when you think Ayckbourn canít possibly create more mayhem, Jennie Israel arrives as Normanís literally and figuratively short sighted wife. If you know all the plays, you know whatís happening in the other locales (which makes the present action even funnier) but if you donít, Ayckbourn has crafted the plays so seamlessly that you donít need to know to laugh yourself silly.