Almost any French farce will reliably include slamming doors, jealous spouses and sometimes angry Prussians and speech impediments. This jumble of elements creates a frenzy of misunderstandings that's only straightened out in the end.
The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's production of Georges Feydeau's most famous farce, "A Flea in Her Ear," has all of those elements and more. Add a few pistols, a seedy hotel, and a love letter and you've got a recipe for disaster. A randy German and an angry Hispanic man add extra doses of humor throughout the show.
The show gets off to a slow start, but begins to crackle in the second half. There are three acts and one intermission. This production lacks the pacing essential for a farce to work. It's a delicate balance between banter and action sequences, but the show relied too heavily on the banter in the first half and the action in the second.
Paul Hansen serves as both the wrongly accused husband Victor Emmnauel and a drunken hotel porter named Poche. The tricky roles require him to look exactly the same in most scenes, to ensure the maximum amount of confusion with the rest of the cast, and yet make sure the audience knows at a glance which character we're seeing. Hansen handles it effortlessly. He slips back and forth as the cheerful Poche and proper Victor while chaos erupts around him.
It's a fun show, but don't let it be your only taste of farces.
Don't Miss the Show
Performances: Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The show continues until May 23. The Indianapolis Civic Theatre is located at 3200 Cold Spring Road on the Marian College campus.
Tickets: Ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting www.civictheatre.com.
For more information of to purchase tickets, visit www.civictheatre.org.
The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's 2010/11 Season
Sept. 10 – 25, 2010
Ever-optimistic yet yearning to find her own family, spunky, red-haired moppet Annie dreams of breaking away from her dreary existence at a Depression-era orphanage. Her adventures and antics both captivate and delight in this Broadway hit featuring favorite tunes “Maybe,” “Hard Knock Life” and the classic “Tomorrow.”
"The Belle of Amherst"
Oct. 29 – Nov. 13, 2010
In this critically-acclaimed work, William Luce draws on the poems, letters and first hand accounts of Emily Dickinson to sculpt a one-woman play that is an inspiring, poignant and truthful biography of one of America’s greatest literary women. Miss Emily’s poetic genius unfolds the mysteries of her eccentric life.
"Disney's Beauty and the Beast"
Dec. 10, 2010 – Jan. 1, 2011
Disney’s lavish stage version of the Academy Award-winning animated film brings to life the beloved ‘tale as old as time’ in a magical musical production featuring extraordinary costumes, magnificent scenery and an enchanting score with such gems as “Be Our Guest”, “If I Can’t Love Her” and the title song.
"The Last Night of Ballyhoo"
Jan. 21 – Feb. 5, 2011
It’s December 1939, in Atlanta, Georgia and the well-to-do Freitag family can concentrate on nothing but Ballyhoo, the social event of the season. This 1997 Tony Award-winning comedy by Alfred Uhry, author of Driving Miss Daisy, has an illuminating message filled with humor, romance and revelations.
March 11 – 26, 2011
On the eve of Hitler’s rise to power, a Cabaret singer, an American writer and the citizens of Berlin are caught in the swirling maelstrom of a changing society. This provocative Broadway show, Tony Award winner for best musical and score, features a macabre emcee and phenomenal cabaret dance numbers.
"The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940"
May 6 – 21, 2011
Mayhem ensues when a motley crew of characters gathers in a mysterious mansion to pitch a Broadway musical to potential backers. Replete with revolving bookcases, hidden passageways and secret identities, the show is a riotous homage to the corny thrillers of Hollywood’s heyday.