Outrageous comedy sets high standards for OCTA

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By Bob Evans

Eight doors, two connecting rooms, fantastic direction, split-second timing, strong comedic performances, improbably story-line–all combine to create the funniest comedy of the KC Metro for this season as Olathe Civic Theatre Association present, “Unnecessary Farce,” that opened Friday, May 1.

Bravo! The cast and crew outdid themselves with the production of this comedy. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s laugh-filled. It’s family-friendly. It’s appropriate for all ages. Do not hesitate to get tickets. “Unnecessary Farce” is a gem.

Expect beautifully directed farcical humor when Bill Pelletier takes on the directing of a comedy. In this case, “Unnecessary Farce” allows him to display his comedic timing genius with a cant of local actors capable of the necessary speed and accuracy needed to perform farce. Just walk into the theater and see the set, and you will know instantly that insanity will overflow. Two identical rooms with four doors each (including the door that adjoins them). Settle in and prepare to laugh.

The two-act comedy get so zany and wacked that you will not remember who stands behind what door, or where the plot with lead. The story opens with two incognito cops setting up a surveillance situation to trap the city’s mayor, suspected of embezzling 16 million from the city. Cooked books and ledgers provide evidence of wrong-doing. But, where has the money gone? Who benefits? Why is there a character obsessed with kilts, bagpipes, and murder? And why does an accountant keep undressing in front of the surveillance camera?

Trust me, it’s part of an intricate and involved comedy that will offend no one and leave the auditorium filled with laughter and the actors exhausted after each performance. The only part difficult in reviewing a farce is that the story is twisted, intricate, and to say too much ruins the effect for the audience. And, that is never the intent of a review. This is the best comedy to play in the KC Metro this season. It should not be missed.

The cast is led by Matthew Hendrickson, Jessica Franz and Laura Irwin.   Hendrickson and Franz excel in this crack-pot comedy.  They display comedic timing with perfection.  They remain onstage almost the entire play. They are joined by Bill Bergman, Joyce Halford, Mike Tufano, Reed Uthe. Their chemistry in this piece is magical They do not miss on one sight gag or the rapid timing. The production staff is led by Bill Pelletier as director; D.K. Evenson, stage manager; Bill Wright, set design and set construction; Chuck Cling, lighting design; Amanda Rhodes, properties design; Maria Gonales, costume design.

“Unnecessary Farce” runs through June 17 at Olathe Civic Theatre Association (OCTA) in Olathe, Kansas. The two-act comedy runs just under two hours with an intermission. Tickets can be purchased by phone as 913.782.2990; at the box office prior to showtime; or through the OCTA website.

Tags: “Unnecessary Farce,” Olathe Civic Theatre Association, OCTA, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts and Entertainment.

Images courtesy of Olathe Civic Theatre Association and Shelly Stewart Banks/OCTA

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