The hilarious French farce, A Flea in Her Ear written by Georges Feydeau and adapted by David Ives continues at Church Hill Theatre through Sunday April 14. With performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm, and is “not to be missed” according to a review by Peter Heck. Reservations can be made by calling 410-556-6003 or online at churchhilltheatre.org
Under the helm of Christopher Wallace’s “first class direction,” and with “some of the area’s best comic talent” this delightful comedy comes to life. Originally written by Feydeau in 1907, A Flea in Her Ear tells the story of Raymonde Chandebise who suspects her husband, Victor of being unfaithful. To catch him, Raymonde’s best friend Lucienne suggests arranging a rendezvous with an imaginary secret admirer at the Frisky Puss Hotel, and then catching him when he meets her. Of course, the plan goes awry with a host of characters running around and confusing everything and everyone. Mistaken identities, jealousy, and more will put the audience in stiches.
In his review, Heck praises the talented cast taking on this riotous comedy. Raymonde and her husband Victor are played by Hester Sachse and Brad Chaires (Chaires has a double role as Monsieur Chandebise and Poche the Frisky Puss Hotel’s porter). Heck notes that Sachse is “in her element…conveying her character’s real concern…while moving effectively into the comic consequences” and Chaires’ “deadpan approach…is right on target” and he “gets a real showcase for his talents.” Natalie Lane and Howard Mesick take on the roles of Lucienne and her husband Don Carlos Homenides de Histangua. Both are praised for their deft abilities to “effectively handle exchanges – in rapid Spanish” with Lane as an “instigator…at the heart of the play” and Mesick “makes it good fun as he stomps across the stage, brandishing a pistol.” Tournel, best friend to Chandebise, and a bit of a rake, is played with “convincing [and] amusing” effect by Dan Guidice. Robbie Spray takes on the role of Camille, nephew to Victor, with the review noting his “nice physical performance adding to the fun.” Herb Ziegler is “fun to watch” as Faraillon, the ex-army man who owns the Frisky Puss. Minnie Maloney plays Raymonde’s flirtatious maid Antoinette, and Michael Moore is her jealous husband, the Chandebise valet, Etienne. Doctor Finache, a somewhat suspect medical expert is played by Bryan Zajchowski. Faraillon’s wife is played by Mary Zober. Their maid Eugenie is played by Shannon Whitaker with a special guest appearance by Maya McGrory in the role on April 5th only. Steve Atkinson and Troy Strootman take on the roles of a rheumatic drunkard and confused Englishman respectively. Heck notes that the more minor players “get their comic bits, and are all thoroughly entertaining.”
Another draw to the Church Hill Theatre production of A Flea in Her Ear is the impressive set designed by Shelagh Grasso and executed by Carmen Grasso, Tom Rhodes and Jim Johnson. There are two distinct, opulent interiors recreated on the stage, with multiple doors for actors to burst out of, and catch others by surprise. Audiences in the first weekend stayed in their seats to watch the crew make the transformation. Heck noted the skill of the design, and “precisely choreographed set change on wheels” helmed by stage manager, Michelle Christopher.
The production team also includes Producer, Sylvia Maloney; Costumer, Juanita Wieczoreck; Lighting Designer, Nic Carter; Photographer Genevieve Croker.
If laughter is something that you enjoy, then be sure to reserve your tickets for A Flea in Her Ear. There is no profanity in the play, but there are adult themes wrapped in double entendre and innuendo. However, the slapstick will likely entertain younger audience members.
A Flea in Her Ear runs through April 14, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members and $10 for students, with special prices for groups of ten or more. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org