Friday, August 26, 2011

Channeling Steve Martin and Britcoms

The Underpants
Written by Steve Martin
Adapted from a Carl Sternhiem Play
StagesTheatre Fullerton
400 E. Commonwealth Ave. Suite 4
Fullerton, CA 92832
Through September 10
Saturdays and Sundays 5 PM
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon
The Daily Bosco

As I was watching Stages Theatre's performance of "The Underpants" I couldn't help but be reminded of those old British Sitcoms, or "Britcoms". You know the ones that they show on BBC America or Public Television here in Orange County Friday nights? Except, with this play (unlike the Britcoms) I could actually understand what was going on.

That's because comedian Steve Martin got a hold of this turn of the 20th century British Comedy written by Carl Sternhiem about what happens when a young married woman's panties accidentally fall off in public and has infused his own trademark frenetic comedy pacing and timing. And some great one-liners too.

The Stages Theater Troupe does a wonderful job of channeling the spirit of Steve Martin into this play. My favorites are the hilarious Sean Contu as the boarder Versati and Dan Barnard as the boarder Cohen who both fall deeply in love and lust with their landlady Louise (the lady that drops her panties) and form one of the funniest and strangest love triangles ever seen on stage.

When you see this play, pay keen attention to the way these actors deliver their lines. You will immediately see Steve Martin in each and every one of them.

Rounding out the cast with completely over the top humor complete with British accents (and as everybody knows everything just sounds funnier in English) are the equally delightful Ryan Young as Theo (Louise's befuddled and clueless husband), Natalie Beisner as Louise, Rose London as the nosy neighbor Gertrude and Brian Fichtner as the mysterious Klinlgehoff.

I often marvel at how the Directors at Stages utilize the intimate setting of the house to their full advantage and David Chorley does a great job of doing just that here as well as directing a very fast paced and fun group.

In short, "The Underpants" is naughty, over the top and just flat out funny. But what would you expect from Steve Martin, British humor and Stages Theater Fullerton?

This play runs through September 10 with performances on Saturday and Sundays at 5 PM.

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