Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Underpants"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"The Underpants"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The last show of 2nd Story Theatre's season is "The Underpants", a farce by Carl Sternheim and adapted by Steve Martin. The show takes place in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1910 and begins when the young and beautiful wife of an uptight bureaucrat drops her bloomers during a parade for the king. Louise is a pretty and naive housewife whose frilly pantaloons accidentally fall while watching the parade. Suddenly, the room she and her husband want to rent becomes the most sought after place in the town by men who saw the whole "accident'' go down. A foppish poet and a nebbish barber, both entranced by a glimpse of her underwear, vie to become Louise's lover. Her new found fame terrifies her husband, thrills her busybody neighbor and brings a grumpy old man who spouts obscenities and a surprise suitor, too. The wild and crazy antics of these 7 performers will keep you entertained all night long under the marvelous direction of Ed Shea.

Ed makes sure all the Steve Martin double entendres and sexual innuendoes hit pay dirt in this farce with the fast paced delivery of his marvelous cast..The gorgeous period costumes are by Ron Cesario. Rachel Morris who I reviewed in :Design for Living" at The Players last December, plays Louise, the dimwitted blonde femme fatale. She is a hoot in this role as she charms the audience with her coquettishness and her interactions with her overbearing husband, two potential suitors and hot to trot female neighbor are splendid, too. Rachel evokes much laughter in the show especially with her moon eyed looks at the poet, her looks of disgust at the barber and her gaining control of her life after much verbal abuse from her husband. F William Oakes is wonderful as Theo Maske, the pompous, chauvinistic husband who hasn't been satisfying his wife in bed because he doesn't have enough money to support a child. His bombastic delivery and proclamations of how things ought to be run in a proper German household are wonderful. His funniest scene is when he appears in his underwear to have his way with a woman while his funniest line is about Gertrude when he says "Rivers still flow from rusty pipes." It left the audience in hysterics.

Paula Faber plays, Gertrude, the busybody upstairs neighbor who wants to live through Louise's sexual escapades. She makes all of her comic lines soar with their sexual innuendoes and smuttiness. Paula's funniest scene is when she talks about balls of blue while doing a pelvic thrust and displaying the sexy underpants she created for Louise, where Theo is turned on by her. Paula is terrific and garners many laughs in this role. I last reviewed Paula and Dillon in "Comic Potential" earlier this season at 2nd Story. Jonathan Jacobs tackles Cohen, the barber who is also a hypochondriac. He is topnotch in this role and as Cohen tells Theo that his last name is spelt with a K because Theo is a bigot. Cohen has every known disease known to mankind saying the doctor prescribe new pills for him called placebos. The only reason he is there is to stop Versati from sleeping with Louise. Jonathan's funniest moments come when Louise is kind to him and he faints on the floor as well as when she slips him a sleeping potion, he collapses as he enters his room. The handsome and debonair Italian poet, Frank Versati is excellently portrayed by Dillon Medina who I last reviewed as the lead in "Comic Potential" earlier this season. He delivers comic poetic lines to Louise while trying to woo her. His first scene with Rachel is a hoot where he exclaims his vein is stiff while holding a hat in front of himself while pulling her down on the rug also funny is the scene where he measures Louise's inseam sticking his head up her skirt. When he is turned on by Louise, he runs into his room to write poetry instead of making love to her. The argument scenes between Bill and Dillon are funny where they go out drinking and he follows a woman home wanting to write poetry to woo her, too. Vince Petronio plays the mean old man, Klinglehoff who demands privacy in his rented room Thinking he saw her at the parade, Louise lifts her dress to show off her underpants then later proclaims that he is having delusions. He is very funny in this role and spouts a funny obscenity at the end of the show.. Evan Kinnane makes a surprise appearance near the end of the show. This scene has to be seen to be believed. So for a very funny farce, be sure to catch "The Underpants". You will enjoy this madcap romp.

"The Underpants" (30 April - 30 May)
2ND STORY THEATER
@ 28 Market Street, WARREN RI
1 (401247-4200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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