Sunday, Nov 18, 2018
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 22
Charley's Aunt a 112-year-old drag farce
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Charley's Aunt a 112-year-old drag farce

by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

Charley's Aunt
Taproot Theatre
Through June 12


In 1892 Victorian London, the biggest comedy smash of the year was Brandon Thomas' Charley's Aunt. In 2010 Seattle, the biggest comedy smash currently on stage might well be the same play. The original production ran an incredible 1,466 performances. Taproot's polished production continues just through June 12. That makes it a "must" on local theater fans' calendars.

The 112-year-old farce works like a Swiss watch: wind it up and watch it go. Karen Lund, Taproot's associate artistic director, gives the Victorian antique a quick polish and basically stays out of the way of the show's driving force - a comic explosion that just keep building.

This scribe thought it would be easy to keep track of the laughs. A column for "belly laughs," an entry for "chuckles," a line for "smiles." This comedy graph collapsed shortly after Act One, which is basically exposition for the laugh riot that follows. There were simply too many laugh-out-loud moments, too many "big smile" reactions.

The plot is pure and simple farce. Two Victorian students at Oxford hope to propose to their sweethearts before graduation. They invite Kitty and Amy to lunch in Jack's college apartments. But, being Victorian England, they need a chaperone. Fortunately, Charley's long-lost aunt is arriving as a new widow from Brazil, where she went to work as a young woman. She took a job as a secretary to an older Brazilian millionaire, fell in love with him, and married him. Now a wealthy widow, she is returning to London and plans to meet Charley at long last. A perfect chaperone, the two young men agree, and the luncheon invitation "to meet Charley's aunt" is extended.

Babbs, a good friend, is officially Lord Fancourt Babberly. He stops by to show off the costume he will wear in an upcoming college theatrical - he will play an old woman, a take off on Queen Victoria. A telegram arrives saying that Charley's real aunt is delayed and will not be there until a day later. "Horrors - no chaperone!" Jack and Charley then think of a brilliant solution: Babbs will don the frumpy costume and wig and impersonate Charley's Aunt. And, with a lot of protestations, Babbs becomes "Charley's aunt, from Brazil. Where the nuts come from." And, faster than you can say La Cage or The Birdcage, which milked the same impersonation plot - "a cock in a frock," as some say - the fun begins.

When the real aunt, a regal Donna Lucia D'Alvadorez, does arrive in time for lunch, she finds an old frump holding court. She decides to play along with the gag and passes herself off a "Mrs. Beverley Smyth" using a calling card in her handbag. Babbs loves to have the young ladies snuggle with him and exchange kisses and hugs, all in a thoroughly proper manner, as older aunt and sweet young things. When he is caught sneaking a cigar in Act Three, he has a hilarious explanation: women in Brazil (yes, "Where the nuts come from....") smoke cigars all the time.

Taproot has assembled a strong cast of veterans and young actors. On opening night, the older actors took the honors, but there is no doubt that the younger cast members will find the polish necessary in a week or so. The entire cast is strong and, as usual at Taproot, an ensemble feeling dominated the production. For the record: Nolan Palmer, as Mr. Spettigue, the stuffed-shirt guardian of both Amy and Kitty, was splendid. Andrew Litzky, playing older than his off-stage age, was equally fine as Jack's recently widowed father who turns out to be an old flame of the real Donna Lucia. Llysa Holland is stately and elegant as the real Donna Lucia. She and Litzky are married off stage, and his program biography charmingly notes that he is "deliriously pleased" to fall in love with his real wife in the course of the play. Don Brady is an underplayed delight as Brassett, Jack's manservant. Brady shows how much can be done by doing little.

As the young characters: Steve West makes a charming Taproot debut as the zany Babbs and his forced alter ego, Charley's aunt. His zany characterization is still in the molding period, but he is delightful in every scene. Josh Smyth, also making his Taproot debut, is solid as Charley, and Eric Reidmann is equally fine as his college buddy, Jack. The two young Victorian women, Anne Kennedy as Kitty and Emily Fairbrook (another Taproot debut) as Amy, are especially strong. Samie Detzer is equally delightful as a third Victorian lass, the seemingly penniless Ela who Babbs fell in love with on an earlier trip to Europe, only to lose her when her father died. Her return to his life, as Donna Lucia's traveling companion, results in fine farce as Babbs tries to court her while disguised as Charley's aunt.

As usual, production values are solid for Taproot. A handsome set by Mark Lund switches easily from Jack's Oxford rooms to Mr. Spettigue's elegant home. Sarah Burch Gordon's costumes are a period delight, especially the elegant gowns for the real Donna Lucia and the frump festival for the sham aunt. Other tech work is solid. As Taproot's press releases notes, "mischief, high jinks, and shenanigans" rule.

Charley's Aunt continues Wednesday through Saturday evening performances plus Saturday matinees through June 12. Ticket information is available at (206) 781-9707.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Cirque du Soleil's Adam Miller - SGN unearths the artistic director's dazzling vision
------------------------------
Seattle's Pride Idol: Round Four
------------------------------
Fiddler on the Roof creates new traditions
------------------------------
Lily Armani wins La Femme Magnifique title
------------------------------
Vaudevillians must-see neo-burlesque
------------------------------
The quiet beauty of The Trip to Bountiful
------------------------------
Charley's Aunt a 112-year-old drag farce
------------------------------
Thin Place a thoughtful trip into religion
------------------------------
VIDEO - Controversial Gay French McDonald's commercial
------------------------------

------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Incredible old timers Pinetop Perkins and Martin Charnin
------------------------------
Sex and the City 2 spends too much time in the wrong place
------------------------------
The LGBT films of SIFF: Week one
------------------------------
A Queer primer for SIFF 2010
------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------
Charley's Aunt a 112-year-old drag farce
------------------------------
Frightened Rabbit's Hutchison gets ready for Lollapalooza
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
The Eagles still amazing after all these years
------------------------------
Deep Inside Hollywood
------------------------------
Where It's At: Wilson at Jazz Alley, Petty at The Gorge puts summer on a roll
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

Roku.com-The Little Black Box That Streams Thousands of Films!
gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2010

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News