By Lucy Komisar
Question: Why is Key West a premier place for entertainment? After all, it’s way at the bottom of the 48 states. Road shows travel, of course, but you don’t see the good stuff every week if you are in some scraggly place with rolling tumbleweeds.
Answer: Actors and other performers love to be in Key West. Some of them choose to live there. Others will visit and work there whenever they can.
So this small town features terrific theater and cabaret, two of my passions. Here’s a take on what I saw on my last trip.
The Waterfront Playhouse
First, the Waterfront Playhouse production of “Leading Ladies.” As a theater critic in New York, I know playwright Ken Ludwig to be known for his farces. He adapted the famous comedy “Twentieth Century” for Broadway, and his “Lend Me a Tenor” was staged there as well. His wit is overly broad, bordering on silly, but that is the essence of farce, and his plays produce a lot of laughs. That was the case at the Waterfront Playhouse’s “Leading Ladies.”
The idea is that two down-at-the-heels British actors, Leo (Brandon Beach) and Jack (Matthew Hollis Hulsey), traveling in rural Pennsylvania discover from a newspaper that a dying dowager is searching for long-lost nieces. With a trunk full of women’s costumes, they decide to impersonate the ladies and collect the cash.
But things go awry when the moneyed Florence (Robin Deck) appears quite healthy, and the two men, dressed as women, fall for real young women they meet at her elegant home (set by Michael Boyer). They women are the charming Meg (Elena Devers) and the roller-skating Audrey (Carolyn Cooper), both of whom have boyfriends, one a slightly creepy minister.
Leo, seeking to express a male presence, skips out and re-arrives as a visiting actor. He persuades the women and others in the entourage to put on a performance of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which involves the female of a set of twins disguising herself as a boy.
The confusion of identities leads to infectious good fun. The foursome (and Robin Deck) are pros — quite good and sprightly, with the ability to handle absurdity without making it seem truly absurd. Director Danny Weathers has a light touch that keeps the play from slipping into television antics. Actors and director understand that the secret of good farce is to make the silliness almost plausible.
The latest happenings at The Waterfront Playhouse.
The Award winning Waterfront Playhouse on Mallory Square has announced their 85th Anniversary season! Opening October 18 and Playing for 10 performances only will be a revival of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show! This wacky tacky [...]
Theater Review / Kinky Boots By Emily Weekley Kinky Boots opens February 16th at the Waterfront Playhouse to [...]
Fine staging of J.B. Priestley’s “An Inspector Calls,” a famous mystery about the exploitation of workers [...]
The Award winning Waterfront Playhouse on Mallory Square, is please to announce their On The Edge series. "With the theatre located On The Edge of the water as well as most productions chosen and designed to be performed On The Edge of the stage, it seemed like a winning title", said Managing Artistic Director Tom Thayer. Although a few productions, such as the upcoming musical The Rocky Horror Show will have more production value, the majority of productions, such as Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, The Informer, Bash, and Trunk Material 2 are created and designed to be performed simply.
Another difference in On The Edge productions is the time.
The Award winning Waterfront Playhouse on Mallory Square, is please to announce their Main Stage series. "With the theatre located Main Stage of the water as well as most productions chosen and designed to be performed Main Stage of the stage, it seemed like a winning title", said Managing Artistic Director Tom Thayer. Although a few productions, such as the upcoming musical The Rocky Horror Show will have more production value, the majority of productions, such as Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, The Informer, Bash, and Trunk Material 2 are created and designed to be performed simply.
Another difference in Main Stage productions is the time.