note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey
Communicating doors to Brits are doors which connect two adjoining suites. To playwright Alan Ayckbourn, "Communicating Doors" are the portals to events (and opportunities) in the past.
Each time people exit through Ayckbourn's door, they find themselves twenty years back. Mix a bit of Alice Through The Looking Glass with knockdown farce --- and add some genuine affection --- and you get a clever, exhilarating evening of theater.
Director Michael Tonner tweaks the farce, plays up the sweet ending, and heightens the suspense (there may or may not be a murder afoot) so that you're on the edge of your seat at intermission.
Toner and sound designer David Feldman interweave strains of Boito's "Mephistopheles" over the dialogue as Jason Myatt confesses past crimes and bemoans a wasted life (a la Faust) in the first scene ... all of which resonates with recent events as we learn that Big Ben is no more and marshal law has been declared outside this hotel in London.
Lest you think this doesn't sound like farce: a dominatrix arrives (Michelle Aguillon in a bravura performance) to find an eighty-year-old man (Myatt, in a wry, sly performance) more interested in having her deliver his confession to the police than he is in S&M. If that isn't odd enough, a cagey (and of course lecherous) hotel detective in the hilarious persona of Jason Yaitanes tries to sort it all out.
Rocco Sperazzo is perfection as the heavy --- so heavy it takes two characters to move him, in [point of fact! Kate Mahoney is solid as the no nonsense second wife, and Claire Gilbert is wonderfully spacey as the slightly dim first wife.
But Michelle Boll and John MacKenzie's set, with its time travel apparatus, is the star of the show. MacKenzie's revolving "machine" whirr's, screeches and flashes as it transports characters back in time.
You won't experience a mote delightful show this season. It's Hovey at their best.