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Unnecessary Farce

By Paul Slade Smithunnecessary farce logo Unnecessary Farce

Directed by Alison C. Vesely

At First Folie Theatre, OakBrook

Wacky, manic and fun farce will produce belly laughs

Written by Paul Slade Smith, a 14 year Chicago actor now on tour with Wicked, Unnecessary Farce finally after 6 years makes its Chicago debut. Under Alison C. Vesely superb casting and tight direction, Unnecessary Farce is a whip-smart comic farce that produces enough laughs to get anyone through winter.

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Two inept cops, three crooks, a zany mayor, a hopeless guard, two hotel rooms and eight doors equals a classic facial framework.  Farce:

“In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humor of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases, culminating in an ending which often involves an elaborate chase scene. Farce is also characterized by physical humor, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances.”

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Paul Slade Smith incorporates all the above elements in Unnecessary Farce.  Get ready to laugh your heart out.

Kevin McKillip  (Officer Sheridan0 and Erin Noel Grennan (Officer Dwyer) set up a sting to get a seemingly crocked Mayor (the always funny Dale Benson) when he meets with Karen Brown (Molly Glynn) the city’s account at a motel. The plan is solid unless everything that can does go wrong which, of course, does happen. Using matching a-joining hotel rooms (nice set design by Angela Miller), Unnecessary Farce is filled with perfectly timed door slamming, clothes flying about, back pipes bleating, misidentifications,  and clever plot twists  all in an attempt to arrest a corrupt politician.  This wildly manic comedy features over-the-top action filled with mix-ups and mayhem that gets us laughing throughout. Seldom have I witness such an exquisite, well-executed farce. So  much split-second timing both verbal and physical keeps us silly and riveted.

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The ensemble performances are a marvel to witness. McKillip and Grennan are fabulous as the daft cops while Dale Benson steals his scenes as he has for decades on Chicago stages. Molly Glynn is both funny and sexy as the account. Raymond Fox is a hoot as the security man with a heart. Jeannie Affelder effectively delivers a surprise twist that complicates the farce. But the amazing work by Joe Foust as the Scottish hit man Todd gets the loudest laughs of the evening. Foust, ever the master comic, using his physical and impressive verbal skills to give his thick Scottish accent a hilarious turn.

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It is impossible for me say much more about the events from Unnecessary Farce but just get out to Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oakbrook to see an impressive and hilarious evening of comic farce. Spend two hours laughing at the absurd antics of seven of the funniest comic players expertly delivering Paul Slade Smith wonderful play. You’ll leave the theatre reinvigorated and thoroughly entertained.  Kudos to First Folio Theatre for snagging Unnecessary Farce.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Jeff Recommended

Date Reviewed: February 4, 2012

Fro more info checkout the Unnecessary Farce page at theatreinchicago.com

At First Folio Theatre, Rt. 31 & Rt 83 at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oakbrook, IL, www.firstfolio.org, call 630-986-8067, tickets $30 – $37, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, with intermission, through March 4, 2012