Monday, April 28, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Funnyman Steve Martin has given us "The Underpants," a lowbrow, highly witty look at scenes from a marriage with lots of digs at society.
Germantown Community Theatre's giddy production directed by Chris Davis lives down to the premise with a fine cast and good pacing that keeps the hilarity flowing.
Martin adapted the story from a 1910 satire by Carl Sternheim that examines the deep question of what happens when a young housewife, waving to the king at a parade, unintentionally drops her knickers. They are at her ankles only seconds, but the effect is rollicking.
Louise (Aliza Moran) becomes somewhat celebrated, to the utter dismay of her prig of a husband Theo (Randal Cooper) who believes his job as a government bureaucrat is doomed and that the couple will never be able to rent out their spare room. Her misadventure, however, attracts a slick poet (Grant Hatton) and a milquetoast barber (Kent Mathis) who saw her and were so overcome that they now compete for the room.
Moran is splendid as the flustered wife who is embarrassed but who also finds the attention stoking her desire. Not much comes from her husband who prefers to pontificate on any subject rather than tend to Louisa's needs. Cooper hits the Teutonic target dead-on in his wild-eyed portrayal of the obsessive boaster.
Louisa's only confidante is neighbor Gertrude (an excellent Denise Turner Barton) whose nosiness gets her more than she bargained for.
Characters run in and out of doors; misunderstandings and mistimings rule the day. I wouldn't have minded even more choreographed slapstick to give some of the gags a bit more time to play out.
Those gags also take a few digs at anti-Semitism (barber Cohen insists to Theo that Cohen is spelled with a K), elitism, gender prejudice and the uberpower of fame.With an amusing set and fine costumes, the show provides some good, naughty fun, not for all ages, but worth a peek.