BWW Review: LEADING LADIES at Adobe Theatre
Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies is now playing at Adobe Theatre. Running from January 17th - February 9th, Leading Ladies is considered to be a, "rare mix of screwball comedy and farce with a tip of the hat to the Billy Wilder classic Some Like it Hot," by director Lewis Hauser. In addition, "the characters are real. The situations are real. And that makes for great comedy, as only author Ken Ludwig can imagine it." Without a doubt, Leading Ladies is great comedy, and makes for an entertaining afternoon.
The farcical play follows Jack and Leo, two Shakespearean actors who are down on their luckand struggling to make a living performing at Moose Lodges through Pennsylvania's Amish Country. When they are between gigs and find out that a dying woman in York, Pennsylvania wants to leave her fortune to her two long-lost English nephews, the two actors decide to pretend to be these estranged family members. Shortly after, they find out that the family members aren't the nephews "Max" and "Steve" but nieces "Maxine" and "Stephanie" - and decide to disguise themselves as women in order to infiltrate the family. Leading Ladies is a true comedy of errors as various romantic entanglements occur while the men try to convince everyone they are really the long-lost heirs to the family fortune. All the while, Leo finds himself falling in love with Meg, the dying woman's other niece.
The cast of Leading Ladies includes some familiar faces to Adobe Theatre and other well-known actors from other productions in Albuquerque's community theatre scene, each of which handle the farce of the production with absolute ease, which only adds to the level of comedy already pleasant in the play. As Leo and Jack respectively, Tim Crofton and Tom Hudgens steal the show, particularly when the two men realize that things have become far more complicated than they originally thought. Crofton and Hudgens shine during the physical comedy moments, such as when Jack has to avoid the romantic advances of Doc (James Kitzmiller) and his son Butch (Daniel Anaya) or Leo tries to pretend to be both Leo and "Maxine" at the same time. Ericka Zepeda is charming as Meg, bringing an energy and spirit to the character that makes it easy to see why Leo would fall in love with her. Christa Bell is delightful as Audrey, taking a character who could be seen as a one-note comic relief and adding depth, making her considerate and caring as well. Ninette S. Mordaunt is a powerhouse as Florence, the elderly woman whose fortune is at stake. Whenever she was onstage, the audience's attention was drawn to her. The rest of the cast, including James Kizmiller, Daniel Anaya, and Kenneth Bennington as Duncan have stellar comedic timing and never miss a beat despite the difficulty of the material. The cast of Leading Ladies, under the direction of Lewis Hauser, help to create a highly entertaining production that kept the audience laughing out loud throughout it.
Leading Ladies opens Friday, Jan. 17 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 9 at The Adobe Theatre. Performances are at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2:00 pm on Sundays. General Admission $20, Discount $17 (Seniors, Students, ATG/PBS Members, Military, First Responders). There is also a PWYW production on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7:30pm. Get your tickets now before it's sold out!