Why are so many new plays – especially comedies – so sitcomesque, I wonder? I think there’s a void to fill. But is it because there really aren’t any good television sitcoms anymore? Or is it because thought-provoking comedy is too hard to write? Or worse yet – does it not sell tickets? One thing is for sure; if you’re going to produce slapstick humor like THE HOUSE it better be done right. Director Margarett Perry, a veteran of the Loft Theater stage, has done it right – assembling a cast of capable comedians and finding just the right tone and pace for this ridiculous – and hilarious – play.
Martyn (Scott Stoney) and Shanny (Caitlin Larsen) are selling their home. Lindsay (Alex Sunderhaus) and Fischer (Vince Gatton) are the new buyers. Everything is nice-nice at first; but as the younger couple starts to share their plans for their new home things take a darkly funny turn. I can’t say anymore without giving too much away.
The entire ensemble has a masterful grasp of physical comedy. I was especially struck with Larsen’s authenticity, despite having some of the most outrageous behavior. It takes good timing to pull of some of the jokes and bits in this show and nearly all of them work.
I do wonder if Brian Parks, the writer of this play, was trying to meet some joke-per-minute quota as some of the things he has written feel forced; the best comedy is in the reality of the situation, not the one-liners. And make no mistake about it, you will laugh out loud at THE HOUSE. A lot.
And that poor stage crew . . . what a job it must be especially on a two-show day. Oh, you’ll see.
THE HOUSE runs through November 19th at The Loft Theatre in Downtown Dayton. Click here for more information.