MD Theatre Guide: UNNECESSARY FARCE

Part traditional and part bedroom farce, with an appropriately absurd plot that you feel compelled to see through to the end despite the high frequency of groan-worthy jokes, Unnecessary Farce is a well received and a timely poke at all things sly and silly.

The play starts as a police stakeout, trying to nap a crooked mayor with the help of his new accountant, the setup person, in a setup akin to a cheesy episode of Starsky and Hutch. Eric and Billie, newbie police officers, are given this assignment. Eric (Noah Schaefer) is a little nebbish and not comfortable with guns, yet had stoked the ledger of accountant Karen (Emily Levey) the day before, and their burning loins stoke the action and also give him incentive and bravado when needed. That he falls in love with the accountant and we see Schaefer develop a backbone in the process is a hallmark of the show. Our ingénue accountant, Levey is convincingly put off by minor things as being videotaped in her undergarments, winding up in bed with who knows who and working on her attraction to Eric.

Billie (Jenna Lawrence) is played with a bright-eyed innocence, even showing up in her uniform blues for an undercover assignment. … The Mayor, played almost in a dandyish take, was a nice contrast by local stage vet Mario Baldessari. His nimble movement and darting eyes were just the thing for the man under suspicion. Then there is Agent Frank. A gem of a role for an actor, the derring-do of Agent Frank (Christopher Herring) was a delight. His Inspector Gadget/Dragnet take, all arms and legs and imperious poses before breaking into cowardly tears, was a highlight in the midst of all the other criminally funny activity. … The dread hitman Todd (Keegan regular Jon Townson), fierce and towering in stature, only does his killing after playing his pipes and in full regalia. Townson’s remarkable Scot-talk, intelligible or not, was an added treat, as was his glass jaw–part of the pratfalls of the play.

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