Thursday, November 17, 2016

Huntington Theatre Company Lightens The Mood With "Bedroom Farce" by Alan Ayckbourn - Just What The Doctor Ordered

Just as many of us have been stressing out over the Brave New World that hit us like an asteroid on November 8th, along comes the Huntington Theatre Company's "Bedroom Farce" to lighten the mood. The laughter that filled the theater on Opening Night was just what the doctor ordered to relieve some tension and restore a sense of balance. The comedy is a British bedroom romp of the first order - four couples occupying three bedrooms in a dizzying combination of couplings - mostly conversation and not carnal.

The ensemble cast are exceptionally well suited to their roles, and well directed by Maria Aitken. The brilliant set by Alexander Dodge covers the stage with the boudoirs of three different couples. We are led from one to another by Matthew Richards' Lighting design as the act shifts from one home to another. Costumes are by Robert Morgan and Sound and Original Music by John Gromada.

Malcolm Ingram, Patricia Hodges,
Richard Hollis, Emma Kaye
Nael Nacer
Huntington Theatre Company's production of
Bedroom Farce, directed by Maria Aitken,
playing November 11 - December 11, 2016,
Avenue of the Arts/BU Theatre.
© Photo: T. Charles Erickson.
  • Malcolm Ingram as Ernest is the very model of dimwittedness and obliviousness, polished with a gentleman's aplomb and sang froid. His wife is worried about their son, Trevor, and his troubled marriage to Susannah. Ernest is worried about the damp ceiling in the spare room, and with getting a good night's sleep. 
  • Patricia Hodges as Delia is wonderful as the longsuffering wife and doting mother to a dysfunctional adult son. Her words of advice to Susannah include, "Give him a nice breakfast, make sure he has clean clothes each morning, and don't tell him too much." Her advice about sex is hilarious.
  •  Nael Nacer is the hypochondriacal Nick, confined to bed with a pulled muscle in his back. Mr. Nacer always gives a bravura performance, and in this role, he gets to display some clever and gymnastic physical comedy.
  • Mahira Kakkar is  terrific as Jan, Trevor's not-so-longsuffering wife. "I have a finite amount of empathy, and I just ran out of it. See you later!" Jan used to date Trevor, and that dynamic adds some delicious complications to the goings on in all three bedrooms.
  •  Richard Hollis is Malcolm, married to Kate.  His feelings are hurt when she reveals that she is occasionally bored when they have sex. He takes his rage out on a DIY table he is building as a gift for Kate. Mr. Hollis also display some wonderful physical dexterity as he does battle with an IKEA-type table that refuses to be assembled.
  •  Emma Kaye is rock solid as Kate, who bears much of the brunt of trying to help out Trevor and Susannah to sort out their tumultuous relationship, while trying to placate Malcolm's deflated ego. Her facial expressions are wondrous when Trevor walks in as she is dressed only in a bath towel, and also when Susannah confesses to being attracted to young women on the street. 
  • Karl Miller as masterful as Trevor, whose flattened affect bespeaks a narcissistic clod who manages to complicate the lives of each of his friends, his parents and his hysterical wife.
  • Katie Paxton is the unhinged Susannah, whose battle with Trevor in Kate and Malcolm's bedroom ruins a party that Malcolm and Kate were hosting. Ms. Paxton gets to pull out all of the stops of hysteria and kinetic energy in her battles with Trevor.
This is non-stop fun and a pure delight. The play will run through December 11th.



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