(From left) Nathan Rice (Bob), Scott Peterson (Frank), Adrienne Grieco (Mary), Laurie Stifford (Fiona), Justin Carleton (William) and Cara Roper (Terry) in Lakewood Playhouse’s “How the Other Half Loves.” (Photo by Dean Lapin)
“How the Other Half Loves,” Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy of misadventure, is the current production at the Lakewood Playhouse.
This hilarious interlope into the entangled lives of three couples verges on the Theatre of the Absurd inasmuch as the lives of the three families are going on on the same stage at the same time.
Director Doug Kerr, who also designed the set, has captured the epitome of both the elegant Foster and the haphazard Phillip’s homes as they converge in the single space. At times Kerr’s blocking direction resembles a Tattoo or a close order drill almost choreographic so the characters walking about their own domiciles don’t collide into each other as they intertwine within the same space.
Throughout this seeming chaos, while all characters appear to be totally oblivious to each other, the actors must be constantly aware of where their counterparts are at all times.
Kerr and his cast have accomplished this fete very admirably.
Not to give away the plot, the tangled web begins when Bob tells his wife Terry that he was out with William the night before consoling him about his wife Mary’s secret affair while, in fact it was Bob who was with Fiona, who is married to Frank, William and Bob’s boss.
It is hard to single out individual actors in this trio of ensembles as they converge into one. Needless to say, they are all exceptional in their craft in order to make this “The Three Stooges meet Oliver and Hardy” adventure work.
Scott Peterson is hilarious as Frank, the unsuspecting boob who would lose his way around a telephone booth unless someone pointed him in the right direction.
Laurie Stifford is suitably elegant and befuddled as his straying wife Fiona who seems to be accomplished at everything except having a secret affair.
Nathan Rice is very funny as her errant lover Bob who appears to have a constant hangover with life and wife.
Cara Roper is wonderfully natural and comical as his not so very understanding wife suffering from perpetual postpartum cabin fever.
Justin Carleton is perfect as William who comically dominates his wife and treats her like a 10-year-old.
Adrienne Grieco is uproarious as Mary his near psychotic, klutzy wife.
So you take these six kooks, mix well with fine writing and great direction and you come out with a winning production.
Molly Callender is the Stage Manager who ably runs this comedy of chaos. Kate Holland is the Assistant Stage Manager who has to clean up the mess when the characters’ worlds collide. Villa Kerr is the Costume Designer and James Venturini designed lights.
“How the Other Half Loves” continues at The Lakewood Playhouse in the northeast section of the Lakewood Towne Center, next to the Pierce Transit Depot, through March 2 each Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; there is also a Pay-What-You-Can performance scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, February 14 (what a great Valentine’s Day adventure) and an Actors’ Benefit matinee Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m.
For more information or to make reservations call the theatre at (253) 588-0042 or go online to www.lakewoodplayhouse.org.
As an added attraction to your theatrical evening, there is a display of photographs of more than two dozen of Kerr’s previous set designs dating from 1972 to present, including the one he did for the Playhouse’s last production of “The Sound of Music.”
Kerr once modestly said that 98 percent of the success of any show is casting; this production proves he’s right.
Come see “How the Other Half Loves” at the Lakewood Playhouse and get an evening of 100 percent laughter and enjoyment.
by Lynn Geyer