Coronado, CA—–Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado is putting on one heck of a party for the next few weeks and it’s all ‘G’ rated (they told us so). A world premiere, “The Servant of Two Masters”, with book and lyrics by David McFadzean is based on the 18th century comedy of the same name by Carlo Goldoni. It is a ninety-minute +, laugh in/ Commedia dell’arte, buffoonery fest.
The original yet eclectic musical score by Deborah Gilmour Smyth is a combination of cabaret, blues with some bop and ballads. There are thirteen or so musical numbers in the show and they are all done well by the couples whose characters they represent. Robert Smyth directs the show with panache. Musical direction is by Deborah Gilmour Smyth (husband and wife) and it is choreographed by Colleen Kollar Smith (no relation).
On the one hand, to say it’s a bit convoluted would be an understatement. On the other hand, to say it’s a bit overcooked wouldn’t be an over statement. But it is a bit of gem for the company: a period piece that Lamb’s Players and company does well with. The four couples in the show end up with their respective mates but it takes a while to cut through all the red tape and confusion.
All signs point to a happy ending, however it’s what happens in between the ‘G’ rating and the happy ending that causes the guffaws and ‘give me a break head shaking’ that count!
The lineup in this little romp includes the usual suspects. Truffledino is the Servant in question (Gino Carr). He dashes back and fourth between the two masters he’s promised himself to, Florindo and Frederico hoping to be fed by one or the other or both.
Florindo (Lance Smith) is Beatrice’s lover. Beatrice (Colleen Kollar Smith) comes to Venice badly disguised as her ‘dead’ twin brother Frederico to recoup the dowry promised him for his engagement to Clarice since everyone thinks him dead. Smeraldina, (Nancy Snow Carr) is Clarice’s (Rebecca Spear) saucy maid who casts her eyes on Truffledino.
The wealthy but penurious Pantalone (Robert Smyth, a fun filled step outside the box for this talented actor) is Clarice’s uncle whose hand in marriage he promised to Silvio (Nick Spear). She was engaged to Frederico but then when news of his death, during a duel, cleared the way for her to marry Silvio celebrations got under way for a wedding to take place in the Inn belonging to Brighella (Deborah Gillmour Smyth looking mischievous as ever) once long ago spurrned by Pantalone.
Nothing but nothing in this production should surprise anyone willing to sit through the maize of complicated and elaborate twists or turns, mistaken identities or blatant out and out absurdities or repetitious blathering. The entire story is too complex to detail, but trust that it follows every scenario indicative of Commedia dell’ arte and any combination of any complication that can happen, does. The entire ensemble works like a well-oiled machine and they look like they are having fun even when some of the props don’t work or some of the words just get even more twisted in translation.
Geno Carr is outrageous and devious as Truffaldino. The little shtick with his limbs showing up in two trunks at the same time is a clever and classic tactic, as he appears to be in two places at once. And as for being just plain physically adroit, he heads the list. And he’s very funny as well. Robert and Deborah as the elders, Pantalone and Brighella, are charming together. Her score to “The Scars of Others” and “The Longer I Live” are beautifully fitting and so well performed.
Rebecca Spear’s scatterbrained Clarice and her malapropisms are fun most of the time with the double entendres (almost always with sexual innuendos) that roll off her tongue like water but after a while, like most of the mix-ups, it wears thin. Lance Smith and Colleen Kollar Smith are great together. They are standouts in the singing department. Nick and Rebecca Spear trod along through thick and thin overcoming every obstacle on their way to being able to tying the knot. Not to worry because as the Bard says, “All’s well that ends well”.
Jeanne Reith’s colorful and extravagant looking costumes are a feast for the eyes and the wigs are the topping on the cake. Jesse Abeel, Bryan Barbarin and Caitie Grady work overtime as the crew members who make all the transitions work, Mike Buckley’s set a perfect backdrop, (Venice Italy, some time ago) and playing space for this nonsense to play out on, Nathan Pierson’s lighting design does give some dramatic flair.
The four-piece band that provide the great music is under the direction of Mark Danisovszky. It is located in a pit right in the center of the stage and becomes part of the troupe. All are wearing orange-stripped T-shirts. I almost felt that I was at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. (They are all dressed that way) The only things missing were the canals and the shops, of course.
If you’re out in Coronado and looking for a fun way to spend an hour or so, “The Servant of Two Masters” should do the trick.
See you at the theatre.
Dates: Through Nov. 20th
Organization: Lamb’s Players Theatre
Production Type: Comedy
Where: 1142 Orange Ave, Coronado
Ticket Prices: $26.00-$60.00