With one two-act-long scene, eight loudly slamming doors, and countless head-over-heels tumbles, Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith makes its hilarious D.C. premiere at the Keegan Theatre. Directed by Ray Ficca, this true-to-style farce tails two stumbling undercover cops in their attempts to expose an embezzling mayor and in the process crashes headlong into a mafia ring, a hitman, and an accountant who can’t seem to keep her clothes on.
Where this production really shined was in the skillfully sharp and rapid-fire delivery of the play’s many and constant absurdities. A pace that could have easily become overwhelming or negative in its ridiculousness, instead consistently kept me on the edge of my seat with a smile on my face if not a more frequent laugh. The interplay between characters and across rooms was expert, unexpected, and deliciously original, and the ability of this production to seamlessly incorporate so many one-liners, set-ups, physical stunts, chase scenes, and more than a few compromising situation was a talent in and of itself. Unnecessary Farce, from its writing to its handcuffs, was a lesson in the innocently, earnestly absurd.
A good ol’ ridiculous time from start to finish, Unnecessary Farce offers an entertaining escape from the seriousness of the outside world and pokes some good-hearted fun at the cop dramas genre we all know so well. (Yes, in case you were wondering, there were doughnuts.) Absolutely recommended for a great night of laughter and fun, Unnecessary Farce hits the mark with its wit, its farce, and its Tallahassee Flips.