You have the right to remain silent – but we know you won’t stop laughing as the award-winning comedy of errors Unnecessary Farce hits the stage in Cambridge. With doors slamming, clothes flying, and bagpipes bleating, this zany farce has audiences howling with laughter through September 3 at the Dunfield Theatre Cambridge.
Mayor Meekly is suspected of embezzling millions from his small city’s coffers, so rookie cops Eric Sheridan and Billie Dwyer have been tasked with a career-making sting operation. They are to monitor the situation and arrest the not-so-honorable mayor when he meets up with his curvaceous accountant Karen. A camera has been clumsily hidden in a plant in one hotel room, so that when Karen gets His Honour to spill the beans, the officers can burst in from the adjoining room, where they’ve been videotaping the proceedings, to get their man.
But, their bumbling setup goes hilariously awry when it’s interrupted by a neurotic security guard, the mayor’s sweet-natured wife, and a bagpipe-wielding Scottish hit man! Instead of fighting crime, they must now contend with mistaken identities, thwarted lovers, coded conversations, and a bevy of slamming doors.
“If you’re looking for a fun escape from the summer heat, this is definitely the comedy for you,” says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment. “Unnecessary Farce is guaranteed to keep you in stitches!”
Actor-turned-director J. Sean Elliott takes the reins of this wild and wacky farce. His skilful direction is timed to the second, making the most of every harebrained moment. Elliott has appeared on stage in numerous Drayton Entertainment productions including The Odd Couple and The Affections of May, among others. He also directed last season’s hit production of Sexy Laundry.
Everyone’s favourite zany comedian Keith Savage scales new heights of hilarity as Agent Frank, the Mayor’s Head of Security with his own conflicted agenda. Savage is obviously in his element here – he is well known for his frenetic energy, and he uses every cockeyed trick in the book to great effect throughout the production.
The entire production is stocked with top-notch performances. David Leyshon strikes the perfect balance of charming nice-guy and blubbering fool as Eric Sheridan, the bookish police officer who must manage a partner who’s even more inept than he is. Kristen Peace is delightfully wide-eyed and ridiculously over-the-top as his enthusiastic yet clumsy partner, Billie Dwyer who is so hapless she has to carry a water pistol. Leyshon and Peace are a terrific comic duo – their chemistry and collective timing make for many laugh-out-loud moments.
Ted Simonett is frantic and funny as confused civil servant Mayor Meekly, who may not be as guilty as the evidence suggests. Simonett, who is recognizable as the “Canadian Tire guy” after years of starring in their TV commercials, knows how to bumble and stumble to great comic effect.
Jayme Armstrong reveals her charismatic comedic skills as Karen Brown, the Mayor’s smart and attractive accountant who keeps ending up under the covers with everybody and anybody. Armstrong wowed audiences earlier this season as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.
Valerie Boyle is clever and quick-witted as the Mayor’s seemingly sweet wife Mary, who is layered with secrets. Boyle is a seasoned comedienne whose terrifically timed one-liners create repeated ripples of laughter through the audience.
Not to be outdone, Ralph Small is wickedly entertaining as Todd, the menacingly funny Scottish hit man who complicates matters for everyone. Small delivers a Sean Connery-meets-Jim Carrey-style performance using impressive physical comedy and verbal skills to give his incomprehensible Scottish accent a hilarious turn.
Set Designer Samantha Burson has created two cleverly-constructed adjoining hotel rooms with many nooks and crannies for hiding (and a whopping eight doors to slam), which is further augmented by Siobhán Sleath’s clean and bright lighting design. Julia Holbert’s simple and attractive costumes help define each character – the tartan outfit is a particular standout.
Written by actor Paul Slade Smith, who currently appears on Broadway in the hit musical Finding Neverland, Unnecessary Farce is a global success. The American farce has had more than 165 productions in the United States, Canada and internationally.
Unnecessary Farce is proudly sponsored by Sketchly Cleaners and Frank’s Maintenance Products Inc. Media Sponsors are CJCS 1240, Cambridge Times and Brantford Expositor. The Design Sponsor is Bugs Or Us and Advance. The 2016 Season Media Sponsor is CTV.
Tickets are $44 for Adults and $26 for Youth under 20 years of age. Tickets for groups of 20 or more are $36. HST is applicable to all ticket prices. Tickets may be purchased online at www.draytonentertainment.com, in person at any Drayton Entertainment Box Office, or by calling toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).