Theatre Mirror Reviews - "THE LADIES MAN"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone



”THE LADIES MAN”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone



The opening show of 2nd Story Theatre's new season is "The Ladies Man" by Charles Morey. It is a loose adaptation of Georges Feydeau's bedroom farce "Tailleur Pour Dames",(Tailor for Women) a story of a Parisian Doctor Molineaux wrongly suspected of infidelity by his much younger wife. He is impotent because he giggles every time she calls his tigre, but Yvonne thinks it is due to his philandering. The doctor recently married to his young wife can't admit his problem and lies about it, arousing her suspicions even further. The problem is exacerbated by madcap characters completely uninterested in anything except their own selfish maneuverings including an outrageously aggressive female patient, her violently jealous Spanish hubby, a harridan of a mother-in-law, a well intentioned friend with a lisping problem, an officious valet and a sexy, saucy maid with a secret. This farce relies on misunderstandings, insinuations, impending infidelity, to weave its comic web as well as a dose of mistaken identities, wacky situations and sexual innuendoes and more door slamming doors than realistic architecture should ever accommodate. Director Ed Shea takes the audience on a merry chase with his 8 wild and crazy performers in this phenomenal French farce. Their brilliant performance is rewarded with a spontaneous standing ovation on a job very well done.

This show is a laugh riot from start to finish with Ed supplying his performers with clever bits of business and shtick to tickle your funny bone. Broad slapstick lunacy abounds in this clever show. Ed does double duty also playing the huge role of the hapless doctor. He has many tongue twisting lines which he delivers with ease. Most impressive is his long convoluted explanation of the things in the last scene. His suspicious wife, Yvonne is played by pretty, brunette, Jennifer Michaels. As Yvonne evolves from the young, naive girl at the start of the show into a stronger one especially when she tells her mother off in spades which shocks the crap out of the audience. Tanya Anderson is dynamic as the flirtatious Mme Aubin who is a designing woman who lusts after the doctor. She is hilarious as this constantly horny woman who has her skirt torn off her during one of her madcap escapades. Luis Astudillo is a hoot as her jealous, mad Spanish husband who mangles the English language. He is constantly beating up the men up and threatening them to duel him with his sword. His mistaken identity scenes are hilarious especially when he thinks Etienne is the doctor and has him examine him when he coughs. Gustavo also believes Mme. Aigreville is the Queen of Greenland and Yvonne is a princess while they think he is a gay dressmaker.

The absence one night of her husband leads Yvonne to believe he is cheating on her and summons her argumentative mother, Madame Aigreville to straighten him out. She is a formidable opponent for him. Female impersonator Payton St. James brings the house down as this character whom the doctor refers to as Medusa. She commands the stage in this role as this crazed harridan. Her funniest line occurs when she tells the doctor all intercourse with her daughter must first come through her. This double entendre left the audience laughing merrily while Payton plays it up to the hilt. She also has a fitting scene for a riding outfit where in the tape measure scene the whole cast runs in and out of the doors constantly, performing incredible moments of shtick that are perfection. Another scene stealing hilarious performer is Charles Lafond as the lisping patient, Bassinet. He can barely finish a line before the audience erupts into gales of laughter. Bassinet keeps wanting to reveal a secret about the dressmaker. He sounds like Sylvester from Bugs Bunny. Another strong performer is Nicholas Thibeault as Etienne, the valet. One of his funniest moments occurs when his trousers are ripped off revealing his underwear. He also gets whipped in this scene which again brings down the house. The sexy, French maid who keeps avoiding Etienne's advances is well played by petite and pretty Vanessa Blanchette. Let's just say this show has to be seen to be believed. I don't want to say anymore to spoil the fun for the audience. So for a phenomenal farce, be sure to catch "The Ladies Man" at 2nd Story Theatre. You won't stop laughing all night long. A word of praise for the fantastic sets by Max Ponticelli and the gorgeous period costumes by Ron Cesario especially impressive are the women's gowns. It is one of the must see plays of the autumn season.

THE LADIES MAN (23 September to 16 October)
2nd Story Theatre, 28 Market Street, Warren, RI
1(401)247-4200 or www.2ndstorytheatre.com




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