BWW Review: BLACK COMEDY at West End Productions
West End Production's production of Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy opened on January 24th, 2020 to a theatre full of laughter that lasted for the entirety of the show. Director Colleen Neary McClure, who had previously directed a production of Black Comedy at Bosque School, finds herself still, "impressed with both its humor and complexity," even to date. In particular, McClure states that she appreciates what she sees as the deeper message to the play: "Don't lie to yourself or others! It is just not worth the bother!" She is especially fond of the characters in the play, who can be identified with and make the audience laugh. Last night's audience of Black Comedy certainly appreciated the humor to the production, as everyone laughed from start to finish.
Black Comedy is a one-act farcical play that follows sculptor Brindsley Miller as he tries impress his debutant fiancée's father, Colonel Melkett, as well as an elderly millionaire art collector who is coming to view his sculptures and hopefully buy them all for his collection, by being someone he is not. In order to do so, Brindsley and his fiancée, Carol, have "borrowed" antique furniture from his neighbor's flat while he is away for the weekend. As the evening unfolds, a comedy of errors occurs right from the start, including a fuse causing the entire building's power to go out, Brindlsey's neighbor coming home early, and Bridsley's ex-mistress showing up unannounced. Amid the laughter of the audience, Black Comedy ends with Bridley's life falling into an utter disaster as the stage lights fade to black as the building's power is restored.
The cast of Black Comedy each gave incredible comedic performances throughout the production, with no one missing a beat. Through the use of subtle facial expressions and physical comedy, Weston Simons gives a superb performance in his first lead role in a production as Brindsley Miller. Simons manages to perfectly convey the mounting panic and irritation of Brindlsey as he watches the opportunities in his life disappearing due to his own actions. From her expressive facial expressions to the glee that is present in each word of dialogue, Jessica Osbourne is clearly having a wonderful time portraying Clea, and she is a joy to watch whenever she is onstage. Kenneth Ansloan is delightfully over the top as Harold Gorringe, especially during the scene where Gorringe learns that Brindlsey has stolen some of his priceless antiques and placed them around his own apartment. Rick Huff does a fantastic job of portraying Colonel Melkett, bringing a stoic sort of comedy that is befitting the role. Rikki Carrol brings a brightness to the stage as Carol Melkett through the use of her spectacular facial expressions and wonderful delivery of her lines. Margie Maes is utterly hilarious as Miss Furnival, making the audience roar with laughter as her teetotaler character has her first taste of alcohol - then proceeds to drink most of the liquor Brindsley has on hand. Black Comedy is not an easy production to pull off, but through the wonderful performances and spectacular directing by Colleen Neary McClure, West End Productions has an absolute hit on their hands.
Black Comedy runs from January 24th, 2020 - February 9th, 2020, with performances every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 pm and a Sunday matinee at 2:00 PM. Tickets cost $22 for TLC, students, and seniors, $23 for earlybird tikets, and $25 general admission at the door. They can be purchased at: http://www.westendproductions.org/buy-tickets/. The show runs for an hour and a half, with no intermission. Loop system with headsets are available for hearing impaired patrons, with 24-hour advance notice.