After several winters of staging December comedies with holiday themes, local theater companies have swung the other way. Two current shows feature motor-mouthed actors in frantic comedies that make no referernce to the holiday season.
The Sacramento Theater Company is presenting a play called "The
Mystery of Irma Vep," something that sounds more appropriate for
Halloween than the holidays. The setting is a gloomy manor in
the English countryside. The story involves a werewolf, a vampire,
and an Egyptian mummy. But make no mistake… this "mystery" is
really a campy spoof.
Ben: "Someday, Janie, my girl, you're going to smile on
Greg: "Yeah, when hell freezes over and little devils go
Ben: "If I was cleaned up and had a new white collar and
smelled of bay rum and Florida water, you'd think
Greg: "Don't go getting ideas about me. You are beneath
me, and beneath me you are going to stay."
Ben: "Well, someday you may want to get beneath me. (Ha
Greg: "How dare you speak to me in such a
High energy performances by Greg Alexander and Ben Ismail, in
and out of drag, make this play silly fun for grownups. So lean
back and enjoy as the boys go over the top with well-timed corny
lines and sexual ambiguity.
Over at Capital Stage, they're doing an equally outrageous
comedy called "Mistakes Were Made."
It's about a small-time theater agent trying to produce an
original play -- a costume drama set during the French Revolution.
But the difficult actor who is supposed to be the star wants
revisions in the script. And the playwright won't change a
The humor comes from watching the miserable agent - tethered
to a telephone, with people on hold - as he pleads and wheedles in
a desperate effort to salvage the doomed deal.
Eric Wheeler: "I am on the phone with the biggest movie
star on earth, Esther. Who is it?
Secretary: It's Mr. Wassercotch, and he's…
Eric: Tell weeping Oscar Wassercotch that I am on the
phone with Johnny Bledsoe right this very moment, and I will call
him when I know something substantive… Leave me alone!"
Secretary: "Yes, Mr. Artifex…"
This show features a high strung demolition derby performance
by actor Eric Wheeler, who never stops talking, and seldom gets to
complete a thought. Its 90 minutes of nonstop interruptions and
frustrations, as one thing after another goes wrong. It's the kind
of show that just might appeal to audiences stressed-out by the
year-end grind. We get to enjoy a relentless monologue by a
character whose life situation is hilariously worse than our