The current Upstage show at 2nd Story Theatre is "Le Dindon" by Georges Feydeau. The show is a comic masterpiece of mistaken identities, illicit assignations, frenzied libidios, laughter and l'amour. The show was written in 1896. It contains intricate plots within plots of philanderers, cuckolds, wily servants, deceitful masters as well as misunderstandings, door slamming and other farcical shtick. It is about the virtuous and faithful, Lucienne, a woman who has vowed never to cheat on her husband, unless he deceives her first, as assorted suitors line up to compete for her love. Old lovers and police show up in hotel rooms as several couples attempt to be unfaithful. This clever farce is directed splendidly by Ed Shea who breathes new life into this 118 year old script, leaving the audience rolling in the aisles with laughter. His endeavors make this one of the must see shows of this spring season.
Ed translated the show from the original French script, adding winning touches to it. The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission. He does a terrific job with the sight gags, pratfalls and all the physical humor this type of show needs. His 16 member cast do a topnotch job in their roles as he creates a show full of witticisms and shtick with an excellent pacing of their lines. The marvelous set is by Trevor Elliott who painted a Renoir painting, Pissaro painting and Manet painting for each of the three acts. The fabulous and gorgeous period costumes are by Ron Cesario and they are breathtaking. The storyline is wild and crazy with the pompous Pontagnac pursuing a beautiful woman, Lucienne who is married to his best friend, Vatelin, a lawyer while idle young, Redillon is also entranced by the same beautiful gal. Meanwhile Potagnac's wife, Clotilde is on the warpath at his amorous tendencies and add in Annabelle and her husband, from Texas as well as a loose woman involved with two of the men at the same time and assorted madcap characters to spice up the twists and turns of the proceedings. The battle of wits between Pontagnac and Vatelin is joyous to behold and hilarity abounds with their clever repartee. Ara Bohigian does a marvelous job as the devious Pontagnac who lusts after Lucienne. He is hilarious as this zealous lover of women. Pontagnac suffers for his lustful behavior by being questioned by the cops. The second act ends with a comical brawl. Tom Bentley is terrific as his adversary, Vatelin. He is quite dimwitted when dealing in art deals even though he boasts of being a brilliant lawyer. His scenes in the hotel are comical especially when he finds out who is hidden in his bed. Lucienne is excellently played by gorgeous brunette, Ashley Hunter Kenner who makes her admirers sweat things out to see who will win her in the end. Lucienne turns the tables on the men, calling their bluff. Jeff Church is hilarious as Redillon. His amorous advances are very well done especially funny is the scene after mad passionate love with the loose woman, he can't seem to perform. His crying scene was met with sustained laughter as well as one he explained his relationship with his elderly butler as "one breast twice removed" because the butler's mother worked for Redillon's father.
The hot tempered Mme. Pontagnac is excellently played by statuesque red head, Hillary Parker. She runs roughshod over her husband and the others. The malapropism language comedy is handled by Rae Mancini as Annabelle and Jeff DiSisto as her volatile husband. They have fantastic Texan accents and do a topnotch job as this sex crazed couple. One of his funniest lines is when he mispronounces cuckold by saying cockholder. Rae is hilarious as the sex starved Texan who want to jump Vatelin's bones again and threatens suicide. Snooty ill behaved servants are an ingredient of a Feydeau farce and a prime example is Redillon's butler, Gerome, played to the campy hilt by John Michael Richardson. When his master is busy trying to seduce one of his conquests, Gerome is going out shopping and John Michael says "Pork chops" which brought the house down in laughter. Ed includes songs to begin each of the three scenes with fabulous vocals by Patrick Saunders, Laura Sorensen and Brendan Macera. Laura plays a trampy woman who grabs the bellhop's privates and has overnight sex with Redillon while Brendan plays the bellhop in the throes of puberty who has a constant hard-on. Another comic couple is played by Jim Sullivan and Pam Faulkner who have been married for 45 years. Jim is a doctor whose wife is deaf and he must speak slowly so she can read his lips. There are many wild and crazy twists and turns in this show with a secret revealed that solves all the problems near the closing moments. So for a fabulous French farce with superior acting talent by one and all, be sure to catch "Le Dindon" at 2nd Story Theatre. Run do not walk to the box office before the tickets run out.