OCTA presents slapstick romp to end season


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Olathe Civic Theatre Association (OCTA) closes their season with the epitome of French farces, “A Flea in Her Ear,” adapted by David Ives, and guaranteed to make the serious-minded persons laugh out loud at the goings-on at the Frisky Puss Motel.

The Frisky Puss put the “no-tell” in “motel,” so to speak. This French farce pokes fun at the aristocrats who seem to play by different rules. But sometimes, despite their social positions, aristocrats make pedestrian mistakes and misjudgements that lead to devastatingly funny antics on stage.

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Director David Martin created theater magic on the OCTA stage with the genius set design of Bill Wright who crafted a two-story set for the Frisky Puss in Act II. The set metamorphisms meant major set changes between each act. A three act comedy, “A Flea in Her Ear” needs two intermissions to reset the stage into different settings because of the lack of wing space to store or manage set pieces. The layout and design of each element and doorway matters. In a farce, many doors opening and closing with pinpoint timing keeps the comedy moving and the audience struggling to remember who is behind each door and guessing which door will open next. Another stunning feature of Wright’s set is a revolving wall (like in old-time gothic stories).

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“A Flea in Her Ear” tells the story of a wife who suspects her husband’s loyalty and endeavors to set a trap to catch him. Quite awkwardly, she books a room at the Frisky Puss Motel, but the trap fails and the wrong person show up. In a funny twist, the Frisky Puss bellboy is a dead ringer for her husband, so confusion mounts when her husband and bellboy are both at the Frisky Puss.

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Peter Leondedis masterfully undertakes the dual role of bellboy and beleaguered husband. To add more mischief to the madness, a dear friend of the wife writes a letter that accidentally finds its way into the hands of a violently jealous husband intent on killing anyone who has had contact with his wayward wife.

The laughs begin in Act I and continue to the curtain call at the end of Act III. The comedy gallops in and out of slamming doors, up and down the stairway, and revolves in a secret rotating bed. To describe more gives away the multiple surprises.

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The cast is precision and perfection. Not one weak performance can be found in this production. Several actors make their OCTA debut with “A Flea in Her Ear,” and demonstrate their comedic talents. The facial expressions, both broad and subtle gestures, the nuances of line delivery–all create a comedic masterpiece beyond description.

Also of note, the sound design makes all dialogue clear for any and all parts of the stage. Give lots of credit to the creative team that make the play so engaging and enjoyable for audiences. “A Flea in Her Ear” completes OCTA’s season with yet another astounding and enjoyable presentation. This is another show that should not be missed.

Opening night brought a near capacity crowd that can only continue to swell as word of mouth of “A Flea in Her Ear” spreads. Expect sold out performances, so secure tickets before heading to the theater.

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The cast is: Peter G. Leondedis as Victor Chandebise/ Poche, Lauren Hambleton as Raymonde Chandebise, Brent Custer as Romain Tournel, Dan Heinz as Don Carlos Homenides De Histangua, Meghann Deveroux as Lucienne Homenides De Histangua, Griffin Leander as Camille Chandebise, Scott Shaw as Dr. Finache, Doug Ford as Feraillon, Tracy Fox as Olympia, Jeannie Blau as Eugenie, Patrick Peterson as Etienne, Amanda Bass as Antoinette, Arron Roose as Rugby, Wes King as Baptiste.

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The production team is: David Martin, director; D.K. Evenson, stage manager; Sarah Jeter, Costume Designer; Valerie Martin, Properties Designer; Dan Heinz, Fight Coordinator; Chuck Cline, Lighting Designer; David Martin, Sound Designer; Bill Wright, Set Designer.

“A Flea in her Ear” continues through June 16 at Olathe Civic Theatre Association in Olathe, Kansas. For further information on tickets, prices dates, and times, visit the OCTA website.

Tags: “A Flea in Her Ear” review, OCTA, Olathe Civic Theatre Association, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment


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