Dark comedy falls short at Curtain Call

Yet another Ray Cooney farce has reared its head at Curtain Call Theatre.

Yet another Ray Cooney farce has reared its head at Curtain Call Theatre. This time Ray teams up with someone named Michael Cooney and the result is a somber, supposed little comedy that provides a few much-cherished laughs but isn’t funny most of the time.

The insanity begins early — and with a working clock onstage you know it’s about 9 a.m. — in the home of Tom (Ian LaChance) and Linda (Joanna Palladino), who hope to adopt a baby. They are expecting a visit from Mrs. Potter (Pat Hoffman), the lady who will finally say yea or nay to their hopes. Everything must be perfect.

‘Tom, Dick and Harry’

WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Rd., Latham

WHEN: Through Jan. 3


MORE INFO: 877-7529

Then Tom’s brother Dick (Aaron Holbritter) shows up with a van full of cigarettes and brandy he has smuggled into the U.S. as well as two illegal immigrants (Jack Fallon and Lynn Scott). Harry (Benjamin Katagiri), another brother, pops in with a plan that involves a garbage bag full of frozen human body parts he has stolen from the hospital.

The body parts, needless to say, begin to defrost as the morning wears on. The ensuing odor, as the garbage bag is dragged inexplicably back and forth into and out of the house, is problematic and mentioned a few times, though not enough for complete suspension of disbelief.

The cast, fine actors all, wrestles gamely with these unlikely circumstances and talented director Cindy Brizzell-Bates has done her level best to create amusement out of the dark scenarios, but to no avail. Funny is funny and not funny is just, well, not funny.

Making the most of it

LaChance gives a competent and controlled performance as the “sane” brother. His comic timing is superb. He makes the most of his explanations to Mrs. Potter and the neighborhood cop (Jimmy Cupp) for the craziness in the house. He tells Mrs. Potter that the body parts are elements of a new television reality show, spotlighting Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” Palladino is comically practical as she attempts to wend her way from point A (discovering everything she can about parenting new babies) to point B (getting the baby) through the maelstrom of deadening and artificial absurdities.

Katagiri is adorable as the hospital janitor who has his brother’s best interests at heart and Hoffman, always reliable, makes a game attempt at comedy in a decidedly unsympathetic role (she is called a battle-ax at one point and responds with a subtle sniff).

Holbritter plays the law-breaking brother with broad swipes and a great many dimwitted facial expressions. Fallon and Scott are fine in thankless roles. Fallon is called upon to enter with a bottle of brandy and a bugle (in fact, a trumpet), which he blows relentlessly and to only one advantage. In a scene where he is trapped in a window seat, where Tom has planted himself in order to hide the offending alien, the bugle goes off several times, indicating that Tom may have a digestive disorder.

LaChance’s body language is superlative as he indicates his discomfort and Hoffman responds with a droll “I know just how he feels.” This is one of the rare comic moments that gave the audience a much-needed laugh.

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

Leave a Reply