Reviewed by Richard Lane
Ken Ludwig’s harum scarum, hilarious farce Leading Ladies is a case of “something old is new again,” for it stretches the audience’s suspension of disbelief to the utmost when we are reminded of Charley’s Aunt where the central character, dressed as a woman, fools others that he is in fact a woman. In Ludwig’s play there are in fact two men so clothed.
These two men, English actors trying to make a buck in America, are presenting Scenes From Shakespeare, but are seriously down on their luck.
By a stroke of luck (always happens in farce) they discover an old lady is dying and is leaving her considerable fortune to her two long- lost nephews. Except, we discover, OH NO!!, they are nieces.
Enough of the spoiler.
Stanley Tuck’s set is a stunner, providing plenty of action- space for the madcap antics that ensue throughout.
Director Jude Hines knows farce, and with all her considerable experience plays this piece as an out an out farce. The pace is a cracker from the outset and her well schooled actors keep it up to the end in a splendid final curtain crescendo.
The actors work extremely closely as an ensemble so one must name them all- Laura Antoniazzi (Meg Snider), Steve Marvanek (Duncan Wooley), Jock Dunbar ( Jack Gable), Patrick Clements ( Leo Clark), Mollie Mooney (Audrey) , Tim Blackshaw (Doctor Meyers), Penni HamiltonSmith( Florence) and Aled Proeve (Butch Meyers and Moose Frank).That said however, Mollie was an hilarious Audrey, had all the best lines and played them to the fullest. Mollie has a gift for farce as a ditsy ingénue.
The audience clearly loved it, but two men with five o’clock shadows dressed as women, fooling everyone? Really!!
A tango ? from Leading Ladies