The definition of a British farce is “a comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable.”
Those parameters perfectly fit Key for Two, the latest show at the Little Theater of Alexandria.
Director Eleanore Tapscott (Caught in the Net, Noises Off and I’m Not Rappaport at LTA) said, “Those folks who know me well, and in fact, strangers who have just met me, will quickly learn that I love theater. I am particularly enamored of farce. I totally buy into regular folks who get caught in outrageous situations as the mistaken identities multiply, the lies spill and the doors slam with merry abandon.”
Elizabeth Replogle (Magda) and Charlene Sloan (Harriet)
Written by John Chapman and Dave Freeman, the script incorporates the best elements of British sketch comedy and music hall routines. Chapman also wrote British sketch comedies with Ray Cooney.
The show opens with successful adman Gordon (Peter Harrold) getting dressed in Harriet’s (Charlene Sloan) bedroom. He is more interested in getting Harriet back into the bedroom, while Harriet is focused on getting money for ‘housekeeping.’ It is quickly apparent that Gordon and Harriet are not married when Gordon complains that he has to support his wife as well.
Cal Whitehurst (Alec) and Charlene Sloan (Harriet)
In the next scene, we meet ship owner Alec (Cal Whitehorse), Harriet’s other lover who also gives her ‘housekeeping’ money. When her best friend, Anne (Dana Gattuso), asks why she is mistress to two married men, Harriet responds, “How else can I keep up this place?”
The fun begins when Anne shows up unexpectedly. Recently separated from husband Richard (Justin Latus), a veterinarian, she provides comic relief and somehow helps to keep straight all the misinterpretations, misidentities and mistakes.
When Gordon, Alec, and Richard all appear, Anne and Harriet start the charade. Gordon becomes Anne’s husband while Harriet pretends to be married to Anne’s real husband, Richard.
Liz LeBoo (Mildred), Charlene Sloan (Harriet), Dana Gattuso (Anne) and Cal Whitehurst (Alec)
When Gordon’s wife, Magda (Elizabeth Replogle), and Alec’s wife, Mildred (Liz LeBoo) show up, too, Harriet and Anne have to do some quick maneuvering. They turn Harriet’s house into a ‘nursing home’ providing cover for why Gordon is staying there with a broken leg. Harriet becomes ‘Madame’ and Anne become ‘Nurse.’ Alec becomes a ‘patient with polygamist palsy” who thinks that he is married to Harriet.
Richard is too drunk to know better and when not trying to woo Harriet, his former girlfriend, he amuses himself with Magda’s fox stole, thinking it is just a sick fox that he has to bring back to life.
It is all quite fun and keeps the audience guessing to the bitter end.
Photos by Keith Waters for Kx Photography
Top Photo: Dana Gattuso (Anne), Elizabeth Replogle (Magda) and Charlene Sloan (Harriet)
“Key for Two” runs through March 18, 2017 at the Little Theatre of Alecandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alecandria, VA 22314. For more information, visit www.littletheatre.com or call the Box Office at 703-683-0496.