I laughed five years ago when I saw "Unnecessary Farce" and I laughed continually when I saw it again last night at Okoboji Summer Theatre. It seemed even funnier this time.
Yes, it is a farce so there are slamming doors (eight to be exact) but, for once, I didn't mind them at all.
Although the play is rated PG13, one of the five guests attending with me thought it should probably be rated R. It is borderline. However the storyline content is strictly adult in nature and uproariously funny.
The story involved trying to pin the theft of city funds on the mayor with a highly inefficient police staff and a sweet accountant attempting to catch the thief.
Adjoining rooms in a hotel provide the setting for the story to unfold. Andrew Holland did a great job as scene designer in making the rooms so very un-homey and drab with just the right amount of personal touches to make it believable rather than sterile. The hotel was far from a high class establishment.
The star of the show, in my opinion, was Travis Mitchell as Todd. He was absolutely hilarious. His Swedish brogue was so strong that, although we couldn't understand it, we got the gist and laughed till the tears began to roll down our cheeks.
Bravo to John Lampe for a terrific performance as the police detective Eric. He played the role perfectly with his intonations, facial expressions and body movements.
I enjoyed Kate Thurn as Karen, the accountant. She expressed herself well and never dropped out of character.
Cooper Slater was highly amusing as Agent Frank. He is a small guy who can play nervous and scared totally believably.
I tip my hat in respect to Allison Sword. Although she is a young college student, Sword drew the role of the mayor's wife Mary, a much-older woman. She portrayed her character very well.
Steve Taft is the Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Northern Iowa. He came to Okoboji to play the role of the Mayor. He was delightful and his stage presence was commanding.
The role of Billie, a police officer in training, was portrayed by Gracie Strawn. Her facial expressions were right on. That long speech in the second act where she was interpreting the big Swede's tirades was delivered impeccably and she got a huge burst of applause from the audience when she was done. It was definitely a highlight. However, for most of the evening, I could not hear what she was saying. She was very good in that role ... if only we could have heard her!
Director Karl Kippola managed to get seven talented people to time their actions and delivery of lines very well in this fast-paced farce. They were up, down, over and under beds with precision. If the timing had been off, we would have had a long, tiresome evening. Instead we had a ball laughing at one of the funniest of farces on stages throughout the country today.
"Unnecessary Farce" continues through Sunday night at OST. For those of you who want a full evening of hilarious entertainment, you'd better get your tickets now!