Show at Playhouse is irregularly funny

By Jeff Smith

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Matt Murry and Stephanie Faatz-Murry look confident in their roles of Eric Sheridan and Karen Brown. The two planned to just work together but ended up fall in love in “Unnecessary Farce”.

Eric Sheridan (Matt Murry) and Billie Dwyer (Morgan Benson) are two cops who are about to catch the mayor admitting to embezzling millions from the city. Or so they thought.

In “Unnecessary Farce” the meeting with the mayor is being secretly recorded in a hotel room. It doesn’t quite happen as it is supposed to and the audience follows a story of radically ludicrous situations.

Everyone is an adult and in serious situations, but it is a universe where the adults are all bumbling idiots. The mayor is excluded from that, although he is seemingly unaware of what is going on around him for most of the play. He carries himself with an aura of self-importance exaggerated greatly by Jason Coppenbarger.

To me, this was the most unknown production of the season. I think that was the draw to it, too. I knew it was going to be funny. There wasn’t anything else to compare it to because it wasn’t influenced by a movie or another play like “Young Frankenstein” or “Grease.”

A lot of it is pretty crude, but the humor is in good taste. Most of the humor is PG.

Don’t be shocked at seeing half-naked characters and a quite a bit of sexual references, though.

Some of it is slapstick humor, but I would say what makes it funny was how everything is so absurd, to the point of ridiculousness. If I wasn’t laughing, I at least had a smirk on my face for the entire play. I think I laughed hardest at the accent of the Highland Hitman and how the mayor kept entering the room when everyone was in compromising positions.

Farce is hard to describe, but fun to watch and I’m sure it is fun to act out.

A large part of it is physical comedy, as the actors endured a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actors have quite a bit of bruises from running into walls, doors or each other.

Agent Frank (Kyle Marks), who was probably my favorite character, is supposed to be the mayor’s protector, but spends time with accountant Karen Brown (Stephanie Faatz- Murry)  and blurts out that the local government is controlled by a crime syndicate, clearing the mayor of any wrongdoing.

Frank is neurotic, confused at times and should not be trusted with a gun. He mistakes the accountant’s signal to the cops as affection.

Marks was in his comfort zone as he has been playing the “dumb sidekick” character all summer.

There is perfect timing of the jokes and just enough time for the audience to laugh at them and not miss a moment of the action. The entire play takes part in two hotel rooms.

The characters romp around and nothing seems like it is ever going to get solved. It eventually gets handled in a way that is fitting to a comedic play.

Marks said his favorite part is the ending.

“Everything comes together in a neat bow,” Marks said. “It makes the whole thing really satisfying to watch.”

The actors can make every bit a part of this play funny. Getting dressed, answering the phone and even sitting in a chair is made funny.

Murry said every night the show will be a little bit different because the cast is rolling with the reactions of the audience. There will be things that come up in the moment and are spontaneous.

There are many bursts of energy from the actors and great voice acting, especially from Timothy Pyles who plays Todd. Murry said they like to find ways to make it fresh and fun. Marks also said there is much freedom to be what is not normally seen everyday.

It’s a great play for a group of friends to watch together or certain couples. Those who are familiar with “Austin Powers,”  “Dumb and Dumber” or “Tommy Boy” would enjoy the play.

The cast is comprised of mostly professional actors. The only ones who are in college are Marks and Benson. Rehearsals for this production took two to three weeks before opening night.

I couldn’t review “Unnecessary Farce” without talking about the love connection between officer Sheridan and Ms. Brown. It is found out that Brown and Sheridan are in love and begin to “make love” within the first 15 minutes of the play. It develops throughout the play and by the end it is totally in bloom.

I have written stories about a few other plays, but never a review of one. I enjoy plays because it is a collective experience for everyone involved. Everyone is laughing and immediately reacting to what they are watching, possibly enhancing the performance.

It’s a rare occurrence in today’s society where everyone is together and enjoying themselves. Murry also said it best when he said the best thing about farce is “it gives the audience and actors an opportunity to have fun.”

The play runs until Aug. 20. For more information or for tickets, go to www.blackhillsplayhouse.com or call the Playhouse box office at 605-255-4141

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