April 22 2015 12:06 PM

North Coast Rep show lets cast go berserk

From left: Jacque Wilke, David McBean and John Nutten in Unnecessary Farce
Photo by Aaron Rumley

Playwright Paul Slade Smith's Unnecessary Farce is a comedy about... forget it, details of the plot are unnecessary. This raucous ride at North Coast Rep is about gags: slamming doors, jumping to conclusions, cartoonish pratfalls and various cast members in their underwear. Ridiculousness reigns.

If Unnecessary Farce brings to mind the Solana Beach theater's memorable 2011 production of Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor, there are reasons for it. Matthew Wiener directed both, allowing his casts to go comically berserk. And the ensembles of both comedies featured, among others, Christopher M. Williams, Jacque Wilke, Jessica John and Ted Barton. While Unnecessary Farce, loosely having to do with a police stakeout in adjoining hotel rooms, registers a few decibels below Lend Me a Tenor on the laugh meter, it does showcase these fearlessly funny actors at their slapstick best. Wilke leads the way as a hapless cop with a squirt gun in her holster, with the vivacious John bringing to mind Natalie Wood in her deft comic turns. Most farcical of all, though, is David McBean as a bagpipe-toting Scottish hitman with a brogue to die for.

Unnecessary Farce runs through May 10 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $41-$48. northcoastrep.org

Speaking of the North Coast Rep, it was only six months ago that the theater staged Mark St. Germain's Freud's Last Session, about a fictional meeting between Sigmund Freud and author C.S. Lewis. Apparently in the case of San Diego theatergoers, that wasn't Freud's last session after all. The play is back already, this time at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado, with Lamb's artistic director Robert Smyth as Freud and Fran Gercke playing Lewis. So riveting is this dialogue between two intellectual giants as they debate life, death, sex and the existence of God that experiencing it so soon again was no chore. For those who have never seen Freud's Last Session, you have a thoughtprovoking 85 minutes in store. Smyth and Gercke are in complete command on Brian Prather's comfortable set, and the specter of Britain's entry into World War II looms ominously over the proceedings. Smyth's makeup even has him looking like the father of psychoanalysis.

Freud's Last Session runs through May 30 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. $22-$72; lambsplayers.org

Write to davidc@sdcitybeat.com.


The Normal Heart: Playwright Larry Kramer's moving play about the rise of HIV/AIDS in '80s New York. Opens Thursday, April 23, at MiraCosta College Theatre in Oceanside. hub.miracosta.edu

PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo: The story of a former gang member who is trying to escape his past and reunite with his family. Written by Chula Vista native Paul Flores, it opens Thursday, April 23, for three performances at the Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center in Lincoln Park. placas.org

The Silence of the Clams: It's like Silence of the Lambs, but it's Diversionary Cabaret so it's way more funny and way more fabulous. Opens Thursday, April 23, at Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org

Big Fish: A musical based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the motion picture by Tim Burton about a southern salesman who spins tall tales to his son throughout his life. Opens Friday, April 24, at Coronado School of the Arts. cosasandiego.com

The Great American Trailer Park Musical: A musical comedy about the colorful characters that inhabit Florida's most exclusive trailer park, Armadillo Acres. Presented by the SDSU School of Theatre, it opens Friday, April 24, at the Don Powell Theatre. ttf.sdsu.edu

Peter Pan: A family-friendly musical about the boy that never grows up and the pirate captain that has it in for him. Presented by Broadway Theatre Arts Academy, it opens for four performances on Saturday, April 25, at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. artcenter.org

Sueno: A staged reading of Jose Rivera's adaptation of the 17th-century existential classic, Life is a Dream. Presented by Intrepid Theatre Company, it happens on Monday, April 27, at 7 p.m. at the Encinitas Library. interpidtheatre.org

Now Playing

My Fair Lady: A man attempts to turn a rough-around-the-edges girl into something more sophisticated—and then develops the hots for her. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through April 26 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com

The 39 Steps: Written by Alfred Hitchcock, the two-time Tony Award winner mixes romance and comedy with the suspense of a spy thriller. Through April 26 at the Welk Resorts Theater in Escondido. welkresorts.com

The White Snake: A play based on a Chinese fable about a snake that turns into a woman, falls in love and runs afoul of a mean ol' monk. Through April 26 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org

The Pirates of Penzance: Nine actors stranded on a desert island perform Gilbert and Sullivan's classic comic opera. Through April 29 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.com

The Balcony: Originally written by French political activist Jean Genet, this play tells the story of a dystopian society where people are controlled by corporations. Presented by Chronos Theatre Group, it runs through May 3 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center in Downtown. chronostheatre.com

Boeing Boeing: In this comical farce by Marc Camoletti, a scheming bachelor finds himself engaged to three different flight attendants only to find one day they're all scheduled to arrive at his apartment at the same time. Through May 3 at Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com

Buyer & Cellar: A hit off-Broadway comedy about an unemployed actor who becomes Barbara Streisand's personal shopkeeper. It runs through May 3 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org

The Hallelujah Girls: The aging ladies of a small Southern town band together to improve their lives after losing a friend. Through May 3 at the Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa. lamplighterslamesa.com

Lord of the Flies: A group of young boys regress into warring savages when their plan crash-lands on a deserted island. Adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams, it runs through May 3 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org

Parallel Lives: Two women play 40 different characters in this sketch-style satire. Presented by Talent to aMuse Theatre Company, it runs through May 3 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center Forum Theatre in Downtown. talenttoamuse.com

Les Misérables: The musical story of an ex-convict trying to outrun his past against the backdrop of 19th Century France. Presented by Star Repertory Theatre, it runs through May 10 at The AVO Playhouse in Vista. starrepertorytheatre.com

Uncanny Valley: Set 40 years in the future, this world premiere play centers on a neuroscientist working to give humans immortality by downloading their thoughts and memories into an A.I. being. Through May 10 at Lyceum Space at Horton Plaza in Downtown. sdrep.org

Unnecessary Farce: A comical tale of an embezzling mayor trying to outrun his accountant, the law, and a couple of hitmen. Through May 10 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org

Freud's Last Session: A fictional meeting between renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and novelist C.S. Lewis results in a lively discussion about love, war, sex and everything in between. Through May 17 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: In a musical based on a biblical tale, a dude who has an "amazing" garment becomes a slave, but he triumphs in Egypt regardless. Presented by Lamb's Players Theatre, it runs through May 31 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. lambsplayers.org


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