By Jordan Wright (Photo/Keith Waters)
What’s more fun than a British farce by the Little Theatre of Alexandria? It’s the troupe’s stock-in-trade and each season they get more masterful at this vehicle, most recently with their production of “Key for Two.”
Written by John Chapman (no relation to the city councilor) and Dave Freeman, it is a hoot in the grand tradition of delightfully naughty drawing room comedies. Freeman began his writing career on “The Benny Hill Show” and “Carry On” TV shows, later writing for Peter Sellers and other notable British comedians.
Chapman was best known for a slew of British sketch comedies in the 1970s and 1980s. The writers collaborated on this play, winning Comedy of the Year in London’s Society of West End Theater Awards for their efforts.
Harriet (Charlene Sloan) is mistress to two married men, successful ad man Gordon (Peter Harrold) and ship owner Alec (Cal Whitehurst). They each are unaware of the other, as well as the existence of Harriet’s estranged spouse.
In order to keep the charade alive, the pretty polygamist cleverly concocts a balancing act to entertain them on alternate days. The fun begins when Gordon twists his ankle, leaving him bedridden in her Brighton flat.
To add to the confusion, her best friend Anne (Dana Gattuso), smarting from a recent separation, arrives unexpected. Anne’s husband Richard (Justin Latus), a taxidermist, soon shows up drunk as a skunk and still carrying a torch for Harriet.
The two women quickly join forces, creating hilarious excuse after hilarious excuse to explain away the untenable situation.
“It’s been a very busy year for kept women,” Harriet complains to Anne as the two conspirators attempt to keep the men from bumping into each other.
There’s a lot of leaping in and out of bed as Harriet pretends to be married to Anne’s fictional husband, dubbed “Bob the Murderer” in order to keep Gordon at sixes and nines. But it’s Anne who has to go the extra mile, pretending to be married to Gordon in order to preserve Harriet’s charade.
It begins to unravel when Anne, now pretending to be a caregiver at Harriet’s “nursing home,” claims that Alec has “polygamist palsy” and believes he is married to Harriet.
Are you still with me? If you can keep that much straight in your mind, the rest is a snap — that is until Gordon and Alec’s wives, Magda (Elizabeth Replogle) and Mildred (Liz LeBoo) show up and all hell breaks loose. Richard’s brief love affair with Magda’s fox stole is classic.
Director Eleanore Tapscott (“Caught in the Net,” “Noises Off” and “I’m Not Rappaport,” all at the Little Theatre) corrals a talented cast and puts them to work tickling our collective funny bones with snappy repartee, double entendres, puns and malapropisms.
And to our delight, they never stop. If you like silly British slapstick comedy, this is the one to see!
Through March 18 at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St. For tickets and information, call the box office at 703-683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheatre.com.