Review: UNNECESSARY FARCE at Driftwood Theater

Now through June 11th

By: May. 28, 2023
Review: UNNECESSARY FARCE at Driftwood Theater

UNNECESSARY FARCE at the Driftwood Theatre is a fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled, high-octane laughfest. If your funny bone is out of practice, this show will whip you into shape in no time. From slapstick, innuendo, deadpan, comedy of errors, and wordplay, UNNECESSARY FARCE finds a million different ways to make you laugh.

“In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humor of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases, culminating in an ending which often involves an elaborate chase scene. Farce is also characterized by physical humor, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances.” Playwright Paul Slade Smith incorporates all of these elements in UNNECESSARY FARCE.  Get ready to laugh your heart out.

The show follows two cops who have been assigned to surveillance detail. They are set to record a meeting between the Mayor and their accomplice, the new city accountant, regarding the missing sixteen million dollars from the budget. Things get complicated when the mayor’s security detail arrives to secure the location. Further complications arise from a hitman sent after the accountant, and the mayor’s wife who is looking for him. 

Mary Guthrie as Billy Dwyer and Topher Wick as Eric Sheridan are a perfect Keystone cop team. Their combination of incompetence and earnestness makes them perfectly endearing and easy to root for. Wick’s ability to be lost in the moment is sold with complete believability. Guthrie’s portrayal of Dwyer is one of layers and nuance that resists the urge to make Dwyer a one-note caricature. Tomas A. Glass as Agent Frank puts those puppy dog eyes to good use. He is at his strongest when the character is showing signs of self-doubt. Skye Stafford at Karen Brown manages to maintain her character’s dignity and poise while still adding to the comedy both situational and physical. Jeff Strom at Mayor Meekly is a sly fox whose reactions to the things he encounters continue to add layers of new laughs. Joe Goins as Todd brings just the right amount of sinister to his role. His Scottish brogue and red-faced frustration were delightfully perfect. And Ingrid Sanai Buron as Mary Meekly, though she be but little, she is fierce.

The production team pulled out all the stops for this show. Set design by Tom Williams and Build Supervisor Bailey Dobbins devised a set that maximized the space, was rich with detail, and gave perfect 80s vibes. Costumes by Rachel Perry were super fun and easy for the cast to manipulate on stage. Director David Alan Morrison had several years to mull over this show that was originally slated for 2020. The result was a treasure trove of hidden joke opportunities that he uncovered at every turn. The blocking of the showdown sequence was pure brilliance as was the added touch of the clown portrait. Every choice made an impact and kept this show moving at a fast and furious pace.

The physical comedy in the show is not only funny but impressive. Mary Guthrie’s bunny hops and maneuvers while bound and gagged were quite the accomplishment. A formulaic plot and corny jokes only seemed to fuel the show rather than drag it, as can often be the case. Manic moves, mischief, mayhem, and mix-ups all added up to a winning recipe for a good time. UNNECESSARY FARCE is a door slamming, clothes flying, hands up, pants down laugh-riot.

Photo Credit: Dale Sutton

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