Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Lie, Cheat, And Genuflect"

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entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"Lie, Cheat, and Genuflect"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Newport Playhouse is the wild farce "Lie, Cheat and Genuflect" which contains twists of fate and mistaken identities. The not too bright, Buckle brothers, Billy and Tom, are in big trouble. Tom's infallible eye for slow horses has drained away all of Billy's life savings. Tom borrowed money from loan shark, Pizza Face Petrillo, who wants his money back or else! There is plenty of money in Grandfather Buckle's will. They want to obtain their grandfather's inheritance even though they are the black sheep of the family. He disowned their father and that side of the family and are pretty sure they won't get any of it. What else to do but dress Billy up as a nun and have him pose as the cousin who is to inherit the estate. Involve a stuffy lawyer who might not be all he seems to be, a hard drinking and man hungry housekeeper, two mysterious young and beautiful women and Pizza Face's sexy gun moll to this wild and crazy show. You then have the recipe and the ingredients for this madcap farce which is full of twists, turns, puns and pratfalls as Tom strives mightily to compensate for Billy's "habitual" errors. Director Daniel Lee White has a keen eye for comic situations and stage manager Olivia Sahlin keeps things running smoothly all night long.

Kevin Killavey and David Adams Murphy play the bumbling Buckle brothers wonderfully. They are dimwitted and their shtick is hilarious. Think Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as  Kevin's Tom is the brighter of the two stooges and has to think on his feet telling lie after lie to save their hide from the loan shark. David's quick changes into Sister Fernando are laugh out loud moments. He jabs himself in the ass with Novocain, swears while dressed as a nun and puts the hungry baby under his robe with hilarious results. The funniest character is this comic farce is Virginia, the booze swilling maid played marvelously by Jessica Davis. She wants every man she sees and wants everything to drink while doing so. Her kiss of life moment stops the show with laughter. Another funny moment is when she utters God has answered her prayers at last. Mr. Fryburger is wonderfully played by John Joseph Gomes. His austere attitude covers a womanizer in sheep's clothing as he chases after Jane constantly, winning many laughs along the way. When he grabs her boob instead of the light switch is very funny. His comeuppance is well worth the wait.

The talented Tonya Free plays Jane, one of the late Mr. Buckle's nurses or so she says. Jane loves to have adventures and like an inquisitive Nancy Drew, sticks around the brothers to find out what is really going on. Her crying scene is fantastic and has to been seen to be believed. Tonya also designed the beautiful set and also gets a chance to play across from her new fiancee, Kevin. Isabella Bennett plays the girl with a baby who arrives at the house to be thrown head long into the wild and crazy antics. This young actress shines in this role, delivering her lines expertly. One of her funniest scenes occurs when she motions actions with her hands for Billy who is trying to push her back in the closet when Pizza Face is questioning him as Sister Fernando. Two other wild and crazy characters are the gangster and his gun moll. The sinister, Pizza Face is excellently played by John Brennan who menaces everyone around him with his surly behavior. His description of his brother is a laugh out loud moment, saying that he needed an inner tube to sleep at night. Hen Zannini is a hoot as the clueless, dumb blonde, Miss MacIntosh who wants to be his sec-a-tery. She livens things up with all the mistaken identities of the characters in the show. So for a fun filled farce that will help you escape from the frigid winter season, be sure to catch "Lie, Cheat and Genuflect." You will enjoy a delicious all you can eat buffet before the show and an entertaining Christmas cabaret afterwards. A word of praise to Jessica for learning this large role in three days.

"Lie, Cheat, and Genuflect" (28 November - 31 December)
NEWPORT PLAYHOUSE
@ 102 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI
1(401)848-7529

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