There is nothing very profound about Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce, the British writer’s 1975 play that was a Broadway hit in 1979 and nominated for a Tony Award that year. That’s what makes it a fine offering for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC), which has stepped up to provide our summer theater scene with light, frothy shows with some literary merit. The prolific Ayckbourn, whose output today includes more than 70 plays, is certainly a suitable writer for this slot in CSC’s season.
It’s a perfectly silly tale about four couples, set entirely in three cramped bedrooms on one evening and the next morning. One pair, Delia (Kate Wilford) and Ernest (Jim Hopkins) are older and comfortable as a pair of well-worn slippers. Another, frisky Kate (Sara Clark) and playful Malcolm (Jeremy Dubin) are hosting a party, to which combative Nick (Nick Rose) and Jan (Kelly Mengelkoch) are invited, as well as Trevor (Brent Vimtrup), Delia and Kate’s son, and his wife Susannah (Miranda McGee).
Nick is in bed, whining about a pulled muscle in his back; Jan decides to go to the party alone to observe the deteriorating state of her old beau Trevor’s marriage to Susannah, who’s “dangerously potty,” according to Ernest.
All sorts of confusion ensues from one bedroom to the next, including an inadvertent wrestling match between Nick and Jan, Malcolm’s incompetent assembly of a piece of furniture, plus countless arguments, outbursts, misunderstandings and apologies. By the end, all is put to right — for the moment.
When Bedroom Farce’s angst and uproar subsides, you’ll have no assurance that it couldn’t happen again soon. But that might be just enough to bring you back to see this comically able cast of CSC veterans plus newcomer Vimtrup, directed by CSC’s Brian Phillips, in a witty, entertaining production.
BEDROOM FARCE, presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, continues through August 7. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.