North Coast Repertory Theatre (NCRT) has created the perfect comedic storm in its production of “Unnecessary Farce” onstage through May 10. It all begins with Paul Slade Smith’s hilarious script that revolves around two soon-to-be police officers who are assigned to take down a corrupt mayor.
Storms are unpredictable, but director Matthew Wiener (NCRT “Lend Me A Tender” and “Perfect Wedding”) proves he knows just how to handle one that includes mistaken identities, inexplicable coincidences and furtive secrets in this farce.
The exceptional cast is the power behind the surprising comedy, delivering Smith’s sidesplitting dialogue and many double entendres with impeccable timing.
Eric (Christopher Williams) and Billie (Jacque Wilke) have been assigned the task of trapping Mayor Meekly (Ted Barton), who is under investigation for missing funds. They’ve set up two rooms in a hotel (terrifically designed with eight doors by Marty Burnett) — one with a hidden camera and the second with the screen to monitor the other.
The mayor’s accountant Karen (Jessica John) has agreed to help with the trap. Instead, she gets involved with Agent Frank (John Nutten), who is also secretly working for the looney hitman Todd (David McBean).
Eric and Billie are on top of the world as cops, but more like in a boat-without-oars in regard to protocol. Eric is lusting after Karen and there’s not a moment that feels artificial about the portrayal. Billie is a silly, act-first think-later girl who wants so bad to be a genuine police officer. Actor Wilke has a Lucille Ball-like demeanor in most of her frenzied actions and keeps the audience in stitches.
Actor John is like a switch on a fan as she goes all out to convey secret “help me” messages on the hidden camera in the room adjacent to Eric, which he totally misses. So why does she keep taking off her clothes?
Barton and Nutten give it all to portray zany characters, and Dagmar Krause Fields handles the role of the mayor’s wife very well.
Everything about this play is worth seeing twice, but the killer character (literally) is Todd. McBean is so hilarious in the different situations — especially in his rage and interpretation of a Scottish assassin — I almost didn’t want the play to end. One again NCRT delivers a must-see show!