REVIEW by Jen Brown
Virtic Emil Brown (l.), Michael Hovance, Jean Gilpin;
Photo Credits: Garth Pillsbury.
Nothing could be finer on a lovely Sunday afternoon than a bawdy romp around the park and Classical Theatre Lab's production of The Country Wife, gave us exactly that - for FREE! From the off the "pocks" and the "parts" and the "balls" were enough to make a woman blush, except that I didn't. Not once. Rather, I was overcome with appreciation at such a delicious helping of sauce!
The Restoration comedy, written by William Wycherley, in 1675 was deemed so naughty in its day that it was banned from theatres between 1753 and 1924. Thankfully, it survives today as a right rollicking, sex-driven frolic. Lines like - "he's my husband and I'm trying to like him", "masked women are like covered dishes" and the hysterical "he has no china left" tickled the audience in all the right places.
'Sir Jasper' (DONALD WAYNE), who talked endlessly about spaniels, intentionally or not, positively looked like a spaniel! His infectious laugh was more a playful growl than a bark, though, and it lit up the crowd every time he opened his mouth.
Filthy toad, 'Mr Horner', who posed as a eunuch to aid in his evil ways, was played in rankly attractive manner by MICHAEL HOVANCE. He managed to set the ladies hearts a flutter and piss off the gentlemen in equal measure.
Alexander Wells & Mel Green;)
Top marks go to ALEXANDER WELLS AND REBECCA LINCOLN (right) for their portrayal of 'Mr and Mrs. Pinchwife'. They gave us an abundance of sullenness and squealy hysteria, with tantrums and doldrums abounding.
Plaudits to all the actors for sterling, break-neck pace performances, with no pause for breath; every one of them lived up to their characters' names with 'Sparkish' and 'Squeamish' delight.
(right Mel Green, Lonni Silverman)
The set design was simple but effective and the park itself lent a natural charm and ambience to the proceedings. The Costume Department excelled in making attire match perfectly the personality of the character, giving seediness where seediness was due - (ie: the rather scruffy looking Parson). Choreography in this frivolous production was precise, prim and uncluttered, but not too prim to conceal the mischief that always threatened to bubble over.
Director, SUZANNE HUNT, created a frothy atmosphere that showed sound knowledge of the times. The generous amount of team spirit was quintessential in bringing about this outstanding production. Hunt must be satisfied with the result and proud of her players and crew, who executed their roles with vigour and skill.
Thank you, Classical Theatre Lab and the City of West Hollywood for supporting these unmissable concoctions. (Pshaw! I want to do it again)!
The Classical Theatre Lab production of The Country Wife.
Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. thru October 23.
Kings Road Park, 1000 N. Kings Rd.
Chairs provided for seating at the park. Reservations: 323-960-5691 or
www.classicaltheatrelab.org. Paid parking in Kings Road parking structure, or street parking.