photo/Monica Helsby ZeroedNPhotography
"Good Heavens! Did you see what they found on our Main Street?" (L-R) Marie Stoney as Frances, Ginny Slifcak as Eleanor, Kenneth Farmer as Leslie Bromhead from the Tater Patch’s latest.
By Monica Helsby
Upon being asked to review a play on opening night, my mind shuffled back to an incident that happened over a decade ago. While attending college in Florida, I attended a small town theatre group’s musical in which I
walked out at intermission. The acting was poor and the music was worse. I was hoping the Tater Patch play would be much different. It was. Now I’m considering getting season tickets for the upcoming year.
The plot of No Sex Please, We’re British reminded me of the old television show Three’s Company. While person A has a problem and leaves the room, then person B comes into the picture without person A knowing and a problem begins to unfold into a hilarious stack of unwanted issues with more characters coming into the scene making things more complicated and comical.
Without giving you too many spoilers, the nightmare of the unwanted problem has to do with packages showing up at a British bank door. The newlywed couple who live above the bank is rightfully upset about what’s inside them as the contents are highly inappropriate. While trying to return them and keep the contents a secret from others, they fail at keeping more boxes from coming. They continue to get more over the course of several days. They try to entertain some unwanted guests off and on throughout this time, but fail to get peace. Throw in some sleeping pills, a pretentious mother-in-law and a quirky chief cashier and you’ve got an amazing cast ready to deliver this rare and hilarious comedy script.
The second act filled the air with laughs from both myself and the rest of the audience. Doors swung open introducing several giggly girls and their promiscuous intentions. A straight laced banker who suffers from insomnia gets slipped a few extra sleeping pills and finds himself being the pun of various jokes including propping himself against walls snoring.
The actors took even the smallest parts seriously and practiced getting into character backstage. The dedication to their parts was evident pre-show and during intermission as they went over lines with a British accent and interacted with one another in character. My favorite actress of the night included Ginny Slifcak who played Eleanor with ease. She floated in and out of the scenes with elegance and poise like a Manhattan Upper East Side debutante. My favorite actor was Andy Kippenhan who played the bank inspector. He played a straight laced banker bringing me back to dating an engineer in my 20s. From the moment he fell against the wall sleeping I was chuckling at his antics and British underwear. The quirky personality of Colby Jones, who played Brian the chief cashier, kept me interested in the twist and turns throughout the night. He obviously has a great passion for acting and it’s evident with his enthusiasm on stage. John Murphy and Marie Stoney play Mr. and Mrs. Hunter who fall into each other’s arms frequently while hosting the madness of the insane characters in their home. Both did a fabulous job of getting me hooked on the plot from the first act. The relationship between Mrs. Hunter and her mother-in-law was perfectly put into place from the beginning. Alecia Moore and Dezerea Brown played Susan and Barbara who ran around like uninhibited party girls playing off of each other’s giggles. Even Greg Valley who played Superintendent Paul was a seasoned detective with a stern voice and dominant look. Unfortunately, the packages just kept coming over and over and delivery man Stanley O’Kelley rolled them in with a smile.
The stage included vintage items that took me back in time to my childhood including the rotary phone. The set allowed for characters to go in and out of multiple doors with ease and therefore creating a masterpiece of surprise from moment to moment. Many people may not appreciate how much work goes into a play from lighting, directing, sound, costumes and stage set up. From someone who used to work at Disney World onstage, I’m the first to mention this takes hours upon hours of time. And believe it or not, it’s all volunteers doing these productions day after day at the Tater Patch Theatre. What a gift to our city!
In a small community where many of us get bored during the winter or complain there is little to do in town, this would be a great night out with friends. Do yourself a favor and go buy a ticket. The play runs until March 22 so don’t miss out.