March 1, 2017
Special to The Alexandria Times
What’s more fun than a British farce by LTA? It’s the theater’s stock-in-trade and each season they get more masterful at this vehicle. Written by John Chapman (no relation to our current City Councilman) and Dave Freeman, it is a hoot in the grand tradition of delightfully naughty drawing room comedies. Freeman began his writing career on The Benny Hill Show and Carry On TV series, later writing for Peter Sellers and other notable British comedians. Chapman was best known for a slew of British sketch comedies in the 70’s and 80’s. The writers collaborated on Key for Two, winning “Comedy of the Year” in London’s Society of West End Theatre Awards for their efforts.
In Key for Two, Harriet (Charlene Sloan) is mistress to two married men, successful adman Gordon (Peter Harrold) and ship owner Alec (Cal Whitehurst). They each are unaware of the other, as well as the existence of Harriet’s estranged spouse. In order to keep the charade alive, the pretty polygamist cleverly concocts a balancing act to entertain them on alternate days. The fun begins when Gordon twists his ankle, leaving him bedridden in her Brighton flat. To add to the confusion, her best friend Anne (Dana Gattuso), smarting from a recent separation, arrives unexpected. Anne’s husband Richard (Justin Latus), a taxidermist, soon shows up drunk as a skunk and still carrying a torch for Harriet. The two women quickly join forces creating hilarious excuse after excuse to explain away the untenable situation. “It’s been a very busy year for kept women,” Harriet complains to Anne as the two conspirators attempt to keep the men from bumping into each other.
There’s a lot of leaping in and out of bed as Harriet pretends to be married to Anne’s fictional husband the women dub “Bob the Murderer” in order to keep Gordon at sixes and nines. But it’s Anne who has to go the extra mile pretending to be married to Gordon in order to preserve Harriet’s charade. It begins to unravel when Anne, now pretending to be a caregiver at Harriet’s “nursing home”, claims that Alec has “polygamist palsy” and believes he is married to Harriet. Are you still with me? If you can keep that much in mind the rest is a snap…that is until Gordon and Alec’s wives, Magda (Elizabeth Replogle) and Mildred (Liz LeBoo) turn up and all hell breaks loose. Richard’s brief love affair with Magda’s fox stole is classic.
Director Eleanore Tapscott (Caught in the Net, Noises Off and I’m Not Rappaport at LTA) corrals a talented cast and puts them to work tickling our collective funny bones with snappy repartee, double entendres, puns and malapropisms. And to our delight, they never stop.
If you like silly British slapstick comedy, this is the one to see!
Through March 18th at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street. For tickets and information call the box office at 703 683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheatre.com