You can tell a lot about a couple by their bedroom, says proper English matron Delia (Cathy Counts) to her husband Ernest (Bob McCormack). There are three bedrooms to clue us in on the pairings of Bedroom Farce: Jan and Nick (Janice Gardner and Mark Rubin) have bright, wacky colors with a parrot and big dose of IKEA. Kate and Malcolm (Meredith Lamothe and Erik Moody) have a new house with a bed of barely-made leopard-zebra print and a coat of primer still on the wall. And Delia and Ernest share a quintessentially decorous British bedroom of dark wood and an ivory bedspread. There is much getting into and out of these three beds in Alan Ayckbourn's slight, silly, delightful little Bedroom Farce, in its last weekend under the gossamer direction of Brian P. Allen for the Good Theater, in a show rich in delectably ridiculous characterizations.
INTIMATE PRANKS Just one of the many highlights of Bedroom Farce.
Susannah and Trevor (Deirdre Fulton, a Phoenix staffer, and William McDonough III) are the one couple whose bed we don't get to gaze on, because theirs is the one relationship on the rocks. Instead, they make their ways around and into the other beds over the course of a very long night that begins with Kate and Malcolm's housewarming party, which Susannah and Trevor ruin with their histrionics. Thereafter, Trevor goes off to his ex-girlfriend Jan (much to the consternation of Nick, laid up in bed) and Susannah to Trevor's mother Delia (much to the consternation of Ernest, with whom Delia is celebrating their anniversary). And the wittily British foibles begin.
The casting of these couples is just divine: The marvelously brusque Gardner is a force to be reckoned with against her sniveling husband, who barely leaves his bed for the entire two acts. As the youngest, newest couple, the long and slender Lamothe and Moody are a lovely pairing with graceful, scintillating timing, and Counts and McCormack do masterful comic work as the eldest couple: The humor of Delia's British understatement is a rich as clotted cream, and McCormack has a laconic deadpan that is absolutely worth the price of admission. And vexing the hell out of all these couples by the wee hours are Susannah and Trevor; Fulton and McDonough make their fundamental neediness and insecurities winningly exasperating and, in Fulton's case, convey a priceless edge of hysteria.
Everyone will find their way to the right bed by dawn, of course, but the antics are such fun that you're almost sorry when they do.
Megan Grumbling can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEDROOM FARCE | by Alan Ayckbourn | Directed by Brian P. Allen | Produced by the Good Theater, at the St. Lawrence Arts Center | through April 3 | 207.885.5883
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