When Mayor Meekly made the following comment in Paul Slade Smith’s Unnecessary Farce, I had to laugh.
“It never really went anywhere – just people running in and out of rooms, taking off their clothes. That hardly passes for a plot.”
At that point in the play, the line appears to be a summary of the show itself. Luckily, things pick up and we find that the plot isn’t as simple as it seems.
Mayor Meekly comes under investigation for embezzlement, but that’s just the beginning. Add in the mafia, an assassin known as the Highland Hitman, a boss called Big Mac, and a pair of inept police officers, and we have a convoluted and amusing farce on our hands.
Alison Lewis and Rich Kirlin play Karen and Eric, the play’s romantic leads. James Van Eaton portrays Agent Frank, and had the audience’s attention from the moment he loomed through one of the doors. He was so tall, his hair appeared to be brushing the top of the door frame. His tough-seeming character turns out to be quite the opposite, and has quite a few surprises in store.
Mayor Meekly and Mrs. Meekly, played by David McHenry and Therese Sorrentino are a matched pair. Both these seemingly bland characters have tricks up their sleeves.
Billie, played by Jana Holm is one of the funnier characters in the play. The bagpipe monologue in Act II – you’ll know it when you hear it – is particularly laugh-worthy.
The real star of the show is Stephen Miller, playing Todd. I don’t want to say too much about him here because of spoilers, but do know that he gets some of the show’s biggest laughs.
As amusing as the plot and some of the lines are, the show could benefit from tightening up its timing a bit – the funny parts would be even funnier if the pace clicked along faster.
It’s nice, every so often, to see a show that’s really just fluff and humor. Unnecessary Farce is a fun and lighthearted play, and a worthy effort by Sutter Street.
Unnecessary Farce plays through August 10. More information and tickets can be found HERE.