Play: There’s a Burglar in My Bed
Group: Kirkwood Theatre Guild
Venue: Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road
Dates: March 11, 12, 13
Tickets: $16; contact 314-821-9956 or www.kirkwoodtheatre.org
Story: William W. “Billy” Worthington III and his wife Ashley, wealthy New England socialites, have grown restless in their 13-year marriage. So restless, in fact, that Billy and Ashley each has arranged a tryst with their respective lovers at the beach house of their estate. While Ashley contemplates divorce, she’s signed a pre-nuptial agreement, which means she has to catch Billy in the act of cheating on her in order to cash in a lucrative divorce settlement.
So, she and her lover Teddy concoct a scheme to have Ashley’s sensual friend Marianne put the moves on Billy and have the amorous rendezvous caught on film by an enterprising private detective named William Davis. Meanwhile, Billy’s amorous squeeze, Buffy, covets Billy’s priceless heirloom, an invaluable necklace, and seeks to get it away from Ashley. To do that, she enlists the aid of her sexy sister, Deborah, to plan a fake theft of the jewel. Will Ashley get the goods on Billy? Will Billy and Buffy pull off the phony heist and collect on the insurance? Will the detective, Marianne and Deborah accomplish their various missions? Will all live happily ever after?
Highlights: According to internet information, playwright Michael Parker has been cranking out bedroom farces such as Burglar for about 20 years, with such dubious titles as The Amorous Ambassador, Hotbed Hotel and Never Kiss a Naughty Nanny. Parker undoubtedly is a favorite with the dinner theater circuit and community theaters for the laugh potential in his efforts.
Other Info: Director Jan Meyer and her enthusiastic troupe at the Kirkwood Theatre Guild have a grand old time plowing through the shenanigans in Parker’s piece, with enough hearty laughs to make up for the somewhat creaky pace of the production. Farce, after all, requires consummate timing to be at its best, something too often lacking in this presentation. With the less than stellar literary approach of a writer such as Parker, the quicker the players ramble and rumble around stage the better the results likely will be.
Having fun with the proceedings, and succeeding more often than not in delivering funny lines with amusing results, are Janice Bruns-Mantovani as Ashley, Kent Coffel as Billy, Stephanie Merritt as Buffy, Melissa Lockhart as Deborah, Leah Myers Giessing as Marianne, Brandon Atkins as Teddy and Robert Doyle as William Davis.
There’s an especially humorous bit with Buffy and Deborah vamping as a pair of nuns inexplicably at the beach house, shuffling awkwardly with barely the front half of their ‘wardrobe’ while being questioned by Ashley. Doyle takes the brunt of the physical comedy as the detective prone to being flattened out by doors, fists or whatnot, while also mastering malapropisms in his fractured speech.
Costume designer Cherol Thibaut keeps the attractive ladies in various degrees of undress, including those nun outfits, and sound designer J.D. Wade’s melodic background music intones whenever the fabulous diamonds are on display. Set designer Gary Sibbitts makes the most of a half dozen doors for access to closets, kitchens, bedrooms, patios and easy entrances and exits for the players, all lit up by Frank Lewis.
Most of the goings-on are harmless fun, even if the pacing could be sharpened by cutting 20 minutes or so out of the proceedings. I must confess, though, that the less-than-macho approach of Atkins as Teddy is a puzzlement and seems to be from another play entirely, as the passion between Ashley and Teddy is virtually non-existent, even for a comedy.
If you’re looking for an evening of mindless, goofy fun, with pratfalls, mistaken identities and silly plot contrivances, There’s a Burglar in My Bed has its share of funny moments, some even hysterical, even with its frequent misfiring. The opening night audience certainly had a fine time.
Rating: A 3 on a scale of 1-to-5.