Theatre Mirror Reviews - "No Sex Please, We're Brithish"

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entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"No Sex Please, We're British"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at Granite Theatre is "No Sex Please, We're British". The show takes place in an apartment over a sub-branch of the United National Bank in Royal Windsor, England. A young bride, Frances Hunter innocently mail orders some Scandinavian glassware. But instead of the glassware, she and her husband, Peter receive pornography, first photographs, then books, films and eventually two hookers arrive threatening the couple's happiness. Further complications arise with the arrival of Peter's mother, Eleanor, his boss, Leslie Bromhead, a visiting bank inspector, Mr. Needham, a nosy police superintendent and a mixed up and accident prone friend, Brian whose continual help in trying to get rid of the pornography ends up making things worse. Brian Olsen directs this madcap farce with the continual slamming of doors, running up and down of the stairs by his talented cast that makes this show a riot from start to finish.

Brian Olsen casts this funny farce well. He infuses his talented cast with fast paced timing and delivery needed to make a show like this work. Brian knows the show inside and out, having played Brian Runnicles the last time Granite did the show. The two story set with multiple doors for slamming was designed and built by David Jepson. Stage manager Ann Gestrich keeps the numerous props in order while Brian runs the lighting and sound for the show. The tableaus at the end of each scene are topnotch,too.

The biggest scene stealer in this show is John Cillino as Brian Runnicles. He plays the bumbling but well meaning friend. John steals almost every scene he is in. He tapes his hands to one of the porno boxes, he tries to flush the photos down the toilet with disastrous results, he sticks a newspaper in his pants, he somersaults the opening in the kitchen getting a painting caught on his head as he runs out the door screaming and he bangs his head on the opening in the kitchen trying to escape a boxful of porno. John's athletic ability and line delivery is outstanding and his pratfalls and gestures are hilarious. The vegetable painting he brings the couple at the start of the show is hysterical with two tomatoes and a cucumber that looks like a penis and the way John holds the painting evokes much laughter. Some of his funny lines include copper on the knocker and phantom pornographer. He also has a hilarious singing and dancing scene with Arthur in the second act.

T.S. McCormick is Peter, the husband and Caitlin Robert is Frances, his wife. This is T.S.' debut performance at the Granite. He and Cailtin work well together as this young couple and handle their enormous roles with ease. They constantly race around trying to cover up the crazy antics around them. Their facial expressions and gestures are wonderful. Veteran performers Veronica Strickland as Peter's mother, Eleanor and Chris Maxwell as Mr. Bromhead have wonderful chemistry in their scenes together. The flirtation and sexual titillation scenes are standout moments for them. Veronica has many sexual innuendoes in the show, punching them up perfectly and wins many laughs while doing so. One of the funniest moments comes when her hair is mussed up after an interlude with Bromhead in the den and funniest line is "You should have a cocktail party for Leslie and me". Chris is the stodgy bank official who has a secret life outside the bank which is revealed at the end of the show. Their interaction with each other and the other performers in the show is right on the money,too. Another veteran performer who steals many a scene in the second act is Arthur Pignataro as Mr. Needham, the pompous bank inspector who conducts a surprise visit and swills down a sleeping potion which gets him into trouble all night long. As Arthur is chased by the two hookers, he utters the title of the play, "No sex please, we're British" and his funniest line is "I don't want to be cock of the north. He wears pajamas with a tassel holding it up and obtains laughs when T.S. tries to tie it back on him. One of the funniest moments occurs when he starts to sing "I'll See you Again" with John and they do a dance together.The two risque hookers are beautifully played by statuesque Kathleen Seagriff as Susan and Mary Kate Tobin as Barbara who also plays a delivery person in the first act. She wears tassels and swings them perfectly while trying to seduce Needham. They also have a hysterical scene with John that has to be seen to be believed. Rounding out the cast is Frank Pendola as Superintendent Paul who adds to the merriment of the show, revealing the secret at the eleventh hour of the show. (I have fond memories of the show, having played Vernon Paul two years ago.) So for a fun filled farce, be sure to rush down to Westerly to catch "No Sex Please, We're British" and find out what all the secrets are.

"No Sex Please, We're British" (6 August - 5 September)
@ 1 Granite Street, WESTERLY MA
1 (401)596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide