Hotbed Hotel is a rollicking sex romp
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
St. Albert Theatre Troupe
Runs Oct. 24 to 26, 31 and Nov. 1 and 2
Tickets: $50/regular; $45/seniors. Visit www.stalberttheatre.com
A good bedroom farce needs at least four slamming doors to make its humour resound with a bang.
St. Albert Theatre Troupe’s season opener, Hotbed Hotel, delivers it in spades with at least six.
British born playwright Michael Parker specializes in a plot with similar themes of marital deception, out-of-control libidos and identity switches.
He has concocted 10 or 12 larger-than-life stock characters that play a sizzling game of musical chairs in differing bedrooms.
Now residing in the Caribbean, Parker sets the sex farce in familiar territory – the Turtle Beach Hotel in the Florida Keys. Terri and Brian Cody are desperately trying to sell their “one star” 12-room hotel.
The hotel’s only guest, Major Posenby, is a retired British officer with a penchant for telling tall tales no one wants to hear. Hayley Harrington, a man-eating sexual predator dubbed “The Barracuda”, who spends holidays every year at the hotel just registered as the second guest.
The only party to show any interest in the real estate venture is a Mr. Sam Lewis from New York. He is unexpectedly flying down to the Keys with his wife, and the Codys have only hours to prepare.
With an almost blank slate of guests, Terri concocts a plan to make the hotel look busy and thriving. She asks staff to masquerade as paying guests.
Chinks in the armour appear as Hopkins, the maintenance man, gets drunker by the hour and Maureen, the sexy but air-headed maid fumbles every assignment she’s given.
Director Mark McGarrigle keeps up a fast pace with the action swinging back and forth among the dysfunctional characters who represent a fluid mix of romantic entanglements.
Naturally, a farce is only as good as its farceurs. Beverly Luckett-Nafe as Terri alternates from being strident and calming while Brett Hammerlindl plays the hen-pecked husband Brian with disarming ease.
That lets Bob Locicero’s Hopkins and Sandra McCallum’s dim-bulb maid steal the show. Locicero is delightful as the stereotypical dirty old man who swigs booze from surprising hidden stashes. Part of the fun is trying to guess where the bottles and flasks are hidden.
The leggy McCallum is all wide-eyed naïve confusion as she switches roles from maid to receptionist to room service waiter and back again. All the while she’s oblivious to the hanky-panky surrounding her. It’s a physically demanding role and McCallum deserves kudos for her high-energy delivery.
Faye Roy makes her theatre troupe debut as Hayley Harrington, the oversexed, bed-hopping barracuda with “twin peaks.” Hers is a secondary role, yet Harrington captures all eyes as she gives new meaning to nymphomania.
Graham Blackley in the duel role of the stiff-upper-lipped Major Posenby and bewildered Arab Sheik Abdul El Hajj pulls his scenes off with charming aplomb. As Major Posenby, his role is to keep Hilary away from the moral-minded Sam Lewis, but quickly loses sight of her after she targets the Sheik.
Newcomer Terry Hall as Sam Lewis is an uptight businessman trying to keep his affair with the first Mrs. Lewis, the blonde and bling-covered Rhonda Kazuska a secret.
But when the real Mrs. Dorothy Lewis (Rachael Cheechoo) appears, everything implodes. The humourless Dorothy is a true dragon-lady wearing support hose and silver wig who whacks people with her umbrella. And in true farcical fashion, a face-to-face meeting between wife and mistress is inevitable.
The play is littered with one-liners and word plays – some hilarious, others a bit stale. But as with most farces, the fun is watching everything unravel while knowing that all ends well.
The Kinsmen Korral is tricked out as Hotbed Hotel. The play runs Oct. 24 to 26, 31 and Nov. 1 and 2.