The current shows at City Nights Dinner Theatre are two, British, one act plays, "The Real Inspector Hound" by Tom Stoppard and "Black Comedy" by Peter Schaffer. The first is a cerebral farce about two feuding critics who end up as part of the play onstage as everyone tries to figure out who is who and what is real and what is fantasy. The second takes place in a poor, womanizing artist's apartment during a blackout with the lights on during it so you can see the comic situations happening onstage. Director Lee Rush blocks her eight performers wonderfully on the huge two story set, leading to a fine display of acting in each farce by the entire ensemble.
Lee keeps the action of the shows flowing to keep your interest with the constant entering and exiting through the doors, the stairs and a trapdoor. The pace never lets up in each show. Lee is also a talented actress, proving she has a fine handle on the comic aspects of each of her characters. She casts each role perfectly.
Tom Stoppard's piece is his revenge on theatre critics and is a mystery story while "Black Comedy" is an easy to follow farce. The first critic is a pompous boor who is a second stringer while the other critic is a philandeering husband with his eye on each pretty girl on the stage. Derek LaMonte plays the first critic, Moon as well as Miller, the poor artist in the second show while Richard Wilber plays Birdboot in the first and the strict father, Colonel Melkett in the second. Both of them do an excellent job with their enormous roles in both shows, displaying their talents by playing two different type characters in these farces.
The rest of the cast play two roles, too. The lady loves of the womanizing artist in "Black Comedy" are played by Kami Crary as Carol Melkett and Becca Lewis as Clea. They also respectively play the tennis playing Felicity and Lady Cynthia in the first show. Both of them are adept comediennes and handle the British accent with ease. The character roles are played by Heather Carey, as the pirate maid and matronly neighbor and Paul Oliver as the preening, conceited young lover and the very gay artist. They both do great turns with their comic roles in both farces, eliciting much laughter from the crowd. The final two actors are Matthew Schultz and Daniel Sulger. Matt plays a Colonel Sanders lookalike and a German handyman while Dan plays a policeman and a deaf art critic. They also show their talent in their diverse roles and their German accents are hilarious. (Dan just took over his role and plays it like he's been in it from the beginning of rehearsals.) Due to the many twists and turns of the scripts, I can't give out what happens. Suffice it to say, you will have to figure it out for yourself.( The dead body is played by Armand Decosta in his first time on stage.)
The before the show dinner is prepared by Brian Condron, whose food is always delicious. This time is the main course consisted of Chicken Marengo, boneless breast of chicken simmered in a bordeaux wine sauce with mushrooms, white onions, tomatoes and herbs, and Hawaiian Ham, tender ham slices with a pineapple glaze. They are served with rice pilaf with red and green peppers, sauteed fresh vegetables, a garden salad, rolls and assorted pastries for dessert with your choice of tea or coffee.
So for a mouth watering feast plus two British farces that will tickle your funny bone, be sure to catch these two shows before it's too late.