Denver theaters offer three intimate shows, lots of big laughs


Funny. Funnier. Funniest. How you arrange these apt adjectives for “Laughs in Spanish,” “The Death of Napoleon: A Play in Less Than Three Acts” and “Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson, Apt. 2B” will hinge on your own taste in wit.

But make no mistake, these very different comedies — which all opened last weekend — delight. I have my own preference for the order of things, but it’s not set in stone; it’s merely reflective of a couple of hours of viewing pleasure.


Whatever you do, don’t call her Shirley. Anastasia Davidson, top, and Rebecca Remaly play the titular deducing duo in “Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson, Apt. 2B” Photo Michael Ensminger/Courtesy BETC

Playwright Kate Hamill has her way with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s deductive duo in “Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson, Apt. 2B,” which begins with Joan Watson leasing a flat with the air-violin-playing, Russian-composer-loving Sherlock “Don’t Call Her Shirley” Holmes. Although for Hamill, who is adept at turning classics contemporary — having done so with Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility – mining the humor in the great sleuth’s hunches is hardly elementary.

It helps to lean on a well-oiled cast to pull off the shenanigans, which the Butterfly Effect Theatre Company has in Anastasia Davidson, Rebecca Remaly, Erika Mori and Michael Morgan.

Davidson is unapologetically zany as Holmes. She zips, she zags, she takes a drag on a pipe filled with what is said to be cannabis. This isn’t Holmes as the coke addict of “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” though she is antic. As for her new roomie, Watson arrives at the apartment somewhat gloomy but hardly befuddled. She’s American and perhaps on the lam emotionally. The differences in their demeanors — or is it neuroses? — brings a classic screwball comedy tension to the goings-on.

Having immediately gathered that Watson should be referred to as “Doctor,” Holmes aims to solve the resistant Watson’s panic attacks. They appear to be set off by the sight of blood. But are they? She’ll bring her new “assistant” along for a couple of seemingly unrelated cases to test her theory.

Will Holmes’ archrival Moriarty make an appearance? Elementary. Will Inspector Lestrade bumble in? You betcha. Morgan plays both and does a sly job of breaching the Fourth Wall at the production’s start. Indeed, meta-winks abound.

Departing BETC artistic director Stephen Weitz keeps the comedy crisp. And the play parlays many of the qualities that have made Weitz and Remaly’s artistic company so essential for 17 seasons: The scenic design by Tina Anderson beckons and recombines with elegant efficiency, and the costumes, lighting and sound design are top-notch.

While the first act seems content to stay silly, Act II sounds a wittier note as Holmes and Irene begin a minuet that may or may not depend on seduction. Mori, who does triple duty as the landlord Mrs. Hudson and the wife of a murdered philanderer, is ridiculously amusing as Holmes’ whip-smart frenemy clad in red and black and wielding a riding crop. She’s sure to leave an impression. Ouch.


Hannah Duggan brings an irresistible buzz to Buntport’s “The Death of Napoleon: A Play in Less Than Three Acts.” (Provided by Buntport)

If you are a fan of absurdist theater, you can’t err ere you see Buntport’s “The Death of Napoleon: A Play in Less Than Three Acts.” The ingenious theater company returns with this welcome original work that finds Napoleon Bonaparte exiled once again, this time to the island of St. Helena (this time for good) with only his moody ruminations, his overtaxed chef, a formidable bee, and a precocious 12-year-old to keep him occupied.

Brian Colonna continues to evolve as a performer, and he doesn’t play “Boney” — as young Betsy Balcombe dubs him — for easy laughs so much as lets the one-time world conqueror wallow in his sour moods, his petulance, his self-pity. These moods are signaled via flags hoisted on the island. The Bee (Hannah Duggan) raises flags. So does young Betsy (Erin Rollman). There’s a flag for “Contemplation” and one for “Languor and Dejection,” among others. But steer clear, regardless.

One poor soul who can’t refuse Napoleon’s beck and call is Chef (Erik Edborg). In white uniform and toque, he high-steps in and out of scenes ensnared in Napoleon’s obsession with whether one sort of bread once baked can become another type.

Given his sulky nature, the tiny sandy atoll that he’s confined to is more sandbox than isle. But for all his temperamental outbursts —  “I am not short, I am average” — he knows well that this is his final stop and drafts Bee, Chef and Betsy to help him rehearse his death.

Source link

Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment