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Bedside Manners

a British Farce
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Derek Benfield

COMPANY : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 3182

SHOWING : October 10, 2008 - November 09, 2008

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

When Ferris reluctantly agrees to look after his sister’s seedy hotel he could not possibly foresee the wild comings-and-goings that were about to burst upon a sunny evening in Spring. Two young couples descend, unsuspectingly, upon this bleak hotel. Roger has arranged an assignation with Sally, leaving his wife, Helen at home to look after the goldfish, Sally leaving her husband, Geoff to dig in the garden. However, Helen and Geoff are not at home. They have also made plans for a naughty weekend – together! They have all seen the same advertisement and the two couples all end up at the same hotel – each with the wrong partner. This is a witty, ingenious, hilarious martial comedy.


CAST & CREW LIST
Asst. Director Amy Rundbaken Smith
Director Lane Teilhaber
Tech David Campion
Stage Manager Greg Fitzgerald
Sally Jennifer Allman
Ferris Rial Ellsworth
Roger Sean Patrick O'Rourke
Helen Courtney Stanley
Geoff Brian Twomey
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Funny Alert -- Attend at the Peril of Laughing Yourself Silly!
by playgoer
Sunday, October 19, 2008
4.0
Farce in Roswell and Dunwoody has certainly invaded the theatre scene! First up was the Rosewater Theatre's "No Sex Please, We're British;" next up was Stage Door Players' "Don't Dress for Dinner;" and now comes Kudzu Playhouse's "Bedside Manners."

All three of these productions have had their highpoints. "No Sex Please, We're British" took a little while to get cooking, but ended up with the giddy, door-slamming silliness a farce needs. "Don't Dress for Dinner" took the misunderstandings and mistaken identities of classic farce and ratcheted them up with breathless, inspired, physical comedy. "Bedside Manners" takes a more pedestrian plot and smaller cast and embellishes the situations with laugh-out-loud touches.

The plot of "Bedside Manners" introduces two sets of adulterous couples. One pair (Brian Twomey as Geoff and Courney Renee Stanley as Helen) have had little experience in illicit liaisons, while the other pair (Sean Patrick O'Rourke as Roger and Jennifer Allman as Sally) seem more comfortable with the idea of a hotel rendezvous. The jittery movements of Geoff and Helen at the start, in comparison to the suave preparations of Roger and saucy self-assurance of Sally, suggest that the play will depict two very different affairs going on in parallel. That, alas, is not the payoff of the plot.

While the plot devolves into a by-the-book sex farce, the comedy remains in constant focus. Some delightful touches spark the proceedings -- Roger opening his hotel door on his knees after putting away luggage under the bed, mirrored by Geoff slowly and uncomprehendingly sinking to his knees when entering the room; Helen entering a scene backwards with glasses over the back of her head as a "disguise;" Geoff pulling up his pants over his suit jacket in straight-faced distraction. Every cast member seemed to have his or her faction in the audience, with titters and guffaws greeting the bits of comedy apportioned to each character.

Some of the biggest laughs were reserved for Rial Ellsworth as Ferris, the man running the hotel while his sister was out of town -- with "running" being the operative word. On a set consisting of mirrored hotel rooms with matching staircases, Ferris spent a great deal of his time running from one side of the stage to the other, trying to prevent one complication or another of the plot. Silly and predictable, but funny just the same!

The set managed to cram five doors and four archways onto a none-too-large stage. It showed an admirable use of the space, but would have benefited greatly from a little faux painting to suggest woodwork. The complete flatness of all the painted surfaces lent an unfinished air to the set.

The cast of "Bedside Manners" is more consistent in talent and performance style than the casts of "No Sex Please, We're British" or "Don't Dress for Dinner." Because of this balance, it's impossible to point to a standout performance. Jennifer Allman, given less opportunity for zaniness than the rest of the cast, still managed to impress with a charming, realistic performance. Everyone onstage shines, in large thanks to the direction of Lane Teilhaber, assisted by Amy Rundbaken-Smith. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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