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Prince George’s Little Theatre Unnecessary Farce

By • Aug 21st, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Unnecessary Farce
Prince George’s Little Theatre
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through September 1st
2:00 with one intermission
$20/$15 Seniors and Juniors
Reviewed August 18th, 2012

Unnecessary Farce is a funny, frantic, chaotic, who cares whodunit by Paul Smith Slade. In a hotel room somewhere in America an undercover cop and a “fresh from the academy” rookie are prepared to take down a crooked mayor in the adjoining room. The video camera is set up all ready to record. There is one problem, well, maybe several. This is a farce so everything that can go wrong does, and like any good farce, clothes are optional.

Although the pacing was a little uneven at times, Saturday evening’s performance was fun and quite entertaining. Mike Larson as the undercover cop Eric Sheridan and Shirley Panek as accountant Karen Brown both gave strong performances. Their passion was real while at the same time totally unbelievable. Panek’s fear was seen as realistic while necessarily over the top, which added to the hilarity of the antics of the evening. There was one point when Eric was confessing his feelings to Karen that could have been made more enjoyable by putting some variation in the scene. Maybe Eric should have turned away from her making her have to work at her feelings for him. Maybe a bit more movement would have worked well.

There were many funny scenes in the production, but the delivery overall was uneven. The problem really can’t be linked to one performer. Possibly director Keith Brown got bogged down at times in trying to keep the story moving along. Maybe the script itself was limiting.

One of the best performances was delivered by Jim Adams, playing the kilt wearing assassin Todd. His accent was great, his anger was truly believable, his pratfalls were real and his pacing was terrific. When he started in on a monologue he had everyone’s attention, but it was rookie cop Billie Dwyer (Elsbeth Clay) who got the applause when she interpreted the speech. Dwyer wanted to please the police department, but her fear of closed spaces and other hesitancies (fear of handcuffs) were a problem. Dwyer started out a bit slow in the first act, but by the second act the adrenaline kicked in and her delivery was more believable. One thing that was honest was her sincerity. Clay meant every word that she said.

Ken Kienas seemed nervous on stage, but that nervousness fit perfectly into the character of Mayor Meekly. Somehow the Mayor always managed to enter a room at the most inappropriate times, which made for an excellent running gag throughout the show. Mary Meekly, the Mayor’s wife was a small but important part. Rachel Duda performed the role with grace and was unflustered no matter what happened. But underneath Mary’s calm exterior lurked a spitfire waiting to arise!

Agent Frank (Eric Small), a member of the Mayor’s security team, had the widest range of goals to play. Sometimes he was a good guy, sometimes a bad guy, sometimes dimwitted, other times a bit crafty. Throughout, his antics were the most believable and his lust for Karen Brown evident.

In a farce such as this, one must have an abundance of doors to setup the missed opportunities as one person leaves through a door just as another is coming in the opposite door. Set Designer Keith Brown designed a wonderful set of adjoining hotel rooms, with generic paintings on the walls. The large plant near center stage sometimes blocked the audience’s view of upstage action, so be careful of sitting to close to the stage. A small touch that would have helped define the two rooms is to have built a low wall between the rooms, possibly just as an extension from the connecting doors wall. Costume Designer Edye Smith made good use of colors and made all the actors look professional.

The animated comedy of Unnecessary Farce will get you laughing throughout the evening.

Photo Gallery

Accountant Karen Brown (Shirley Panek) welcomes Mayor Meekly and his wife Mary (Ken Kienas and Rachel Duda) to her motel room while the Mayor's security guard Agent Frank (Eric Small) prepares to protect the two of them. Rookie cop Billie Dwyer (Elsbeth Clay) is threatened by mob hitman Todd (Jim Adams) during the motel room police sting.
Accountant Karen Brown (Shirley Panek) welcomes Mayor Meekly and his wife Mary (Ken Kienas and Rachel Duda) to her motel room while the Mayor’s security guard Agent Frank (Eric Small) prepares to protect the two of them.
Rookie cop Billie Dwyer (Elsbeth Clay) is threatened by mob hitman Todd (Jim Adams) during the motel room police sting.
Accountant Karen Brown (Shirley Panek) shows Mayor Meekly (Ken Kienas) the irregularities in the city's financial records in her motel room during the police sting. Mob hit man Todd (Jim Adams) and Agent Frank (Eric Small) security guard for the Mayor have a tense moment.
Accountant Karen Brown (Shirley Panek) shows Mayor Meekly (Ken Kienas) the irregularities in the city’s financial records in her motel room during the police sting.
Mob hit man Todd (Jim Adams) and Agent Frank (Eric Small) security guard for the Mayor have a tense moment.
Veteran Police Officer Eric Sheridan (Mike Larson) and city accountant Karen Brown (Shirley Panek) discover they have romantic feelings for each other during the police sting at the motel.
Veteran Police Officer Eric Sheridan (Mike Larson) and city accountant Karen Brown (Shirley Panek) discover they have romantic feelings for each other during the police sting at the motel.

Photos by Roy Peterson

Cast

  • Eric Sheridan: Mike Larson
  • Billie Dwyer: Elsbeth Clay
  • Karen Brown: Shirley Panek
  • Mayor Meekly: Ken Kienas
  • Agent Frank: Eric Small
  • Todd: Jim Adams
  • Mary Meekly: Rachel Duda

Crew

  • Director, Set Designer: Keith Brown
  • Co-Producers: Dan Lavanga, Jenna Jones Paradis
  • Assistant Director, Set Decoration Design: Jenna Jones Paradis
  • Rehearsal Assistant: Millie Ferrara
  • Stage Manager: Jennifer Harvey
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Rose English-Arredondo
  • Stage Crew: Eddie Arredondo, Donald Franklin
  • Set Construction Lead: Dan Lavanga
  • Set Painting Design, Playbill Design: Roy Peterson
  • Sound Design: James Baldwin, Tyler Baldwin
  • Lighting Design: Garrett Hyde
  • Scottish Dialect Coach: Dorothy Penders
  • Properties Coordinator: Keith Brown
  • Costume Design: Edye Smith
  • Bowie Playhouse Technicians: Al Chopey, Pete Dursin, Garrett Hyde, Wally Kleinfelder
  • Transportation Chief: Keith Brown
  • Front of House Coordinator: Dan Lavanga
  • House Managers, Concessions: Keith Brown, Dan Lavanga, Gayle Negri, Jenna Jones Paradis, Roger Paradis, Roy Peterson, Linda Sellner
  • Box Office: Dan Lavanga, Linda Smith, Richard Robbins, Sarah Potter Robbins
  • Reservations: Sarah Potter Robbins, Richard Robbins
  • Publicity: Jenna jones, Roy Peterson, Linda Smith
  • Web Site (www.pglt.org): Kristofer Northrup
  • Photography: Kristofer Northrup
  • Program Cover/Publicity Artwork: Michele Stinson
  • Lobby Display: Mary Koster

Disclaimer: Prince George’s Little Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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