BWW Reviews: The Obvious Innuendo of Theatre UCF's THE UNDERPANTS
THE UNDERPANTS is an adaption from Carl Sternheim's 1910 play DIE HOSE. The adaptor is comedian and actor, Steve Martin. Martin's humor is clearly present throughout the play with an absurd amount of overt sexual innuendos, slapstick comedy, and over-the-top characters. Though the humor is shallow, the story is nearly absurd.
While watching a parade, Louise Maske's (Olivia Grace Murphy) underpants falls down. Because no one has anything better to report, the incident becomes a small scandal in Dusseldorf, Germany. Louise's husband, Theo (Jeff Nathan), is appalled by the incident, mostly because he is afraid of what it would mean for his reputation. Louise is a housewife with no inspiration, no passion, and sexually stifled.
With a room to rent in the Maske flat, a variety of men begin to show up inquiring about the opportunity. Frank Versati (Jesse Hinton), Benjamin Cohen (Daniel Annone), and later Klinglehoff (Ryan M. Skiles) all arrive after seeing Louise's underpants debacle. Louise is entranced and horny for the poetic Versati. She and her nosy neighbor Gertrude (Courtney Kaye Derby) fantasize a way for Louise to have an affair. Gertrude offers to sew a lavish pair of panties to aid Louise in her conquest. Louise's affections toward Versati do not go unnoticed by the other tenant Cohen, or Kohen as he must go by in this German town. Cohen vows to keep the exploitive Versati away from the sweet Louise, while her husband remains oblivious towards his straying wife. The story resolves itself neatly and quickly, when there few sexual jokes left. Louise and Theo rekindle their relationship and may or may not live happily ever after.
The cast of Theatre UCF's THE UNDERPANTS performs the piece admirably. Timing is everything in comedy, while the cast was fantastic with the physical comedy, the verbal comedy seemed forced and too rehearsed. There is an excessive slamming of doors, which reminds me of Theatre UCF's summer production of BOEING BOEING. Door slamming makes for good comedy and shows the expert timing needed for pulling off precise scenes. As if the humor wasn't transparent enough, there is a cuckoo clock that goes off at every supposed funny moment.
Olivia Murphy is a sweet, but not innocent Louise Maske. She is convincing as the meek housewife and hysterical as the horny adulteress. There was good chemistry between Murphy's Louise and the men, as she lures, manipulates, and fantasizes. The best chemistry though existed between Louise and Gertrude. At one point, it looked as though the pair was going to be the only couple to hook up.
Jeff Nathan is a natural Theo Maske. He masters the paternal almost misogynistic, racist tone his character is given, yet he is charming and likeable. On the other spectrum is Jesse Hinton as Versati. Hinton has comedic acting down. He is sharp, when he needs to be over the top he takes it to the next level.
Theatre UCF will host its Annual Halloween Costume Sale on October 18. Costumes from past productions will be on sale, including SIDE SHOW and SPRING AWAKENING. Proceeds from the costume sale supports student projects and the costume shop budget. Cash is preferred, checks will be accepted. No credit cards.
Photo Credit: Erin Lartonoix