AMANA — The Old Creamery Theatre’s wacky crew strikes all the high notes in finding the farce in “A Comedy of Tenors.”
Ken Ludwig’s sequel to “Lend Me A Tenor” brings back the main characters, shaking them up a bit with new roles. Max (Keegan Christopher) has been elevated from assistant to artist. However, he quickly acquiesces when Saunders (David Q. Combs) barks out orders.
Madcap mayhem ensues from the very beginning, as doors slam, pants drop, jealousies rage and tenors fly off in a huff while the clock ticks down to the Concert of the Century in a packed Paris stadium. The masses have gathered to hear a trio of famous tenors, but everything is falling flat with some sharply augmented action that never diminishes in the adjacent hotel suite.
Sean McCall, who played Max in two Creamery productions of “Lend Me a Tenor,” has scaled the opera ladder into the role of lead divo, Tito. Farce is his forte, and McCall wears madcap like the finest fedora, eliciting belly laughs with every rubbery physical contortion and absurd situation.
Pretty much every situation is absurd, from forbidden romances and partner peccadilloes to misunderstood sweet nothings, mistaken identities, runaway egos and runaway brides.
Everyone stirs the pot, bringing it to a boil that spills over with sizzles and hisses.
Tito is outraged that he’s sharing the bill with his arch rival, Carlo (Max Mattox). He flips out completely when he discovers the suave and handsome Carlo is wooing his daughter, Mimi (Katie Colletta). But not before flipping out thinking his wife, Maria (Kelly Hackett), is the object of Carlo’s affections.
The interlocking love triangles become rectangles when Tito’s former lover, soprano diva Tatiana Racon (Jackie McCall), enters the scene. Their ensuing entanglements are even more hilarious when you realize Sean and Jackie McCall are married in real life. Their cat-and-mouse chases and foodie foreplay are goofy gold.
At the other end of the scale, mercurial mates Tito and Maria are always in a huff with each other, as their arguments rise to a fevered pitch. Their passion runs as hot as their tempers.
Their daughter Mimi is their polar opposite. Colletta’s wide-eyed innocence is endearing and adorable. Her Mimi is sweet-tempered and heels over head in love with Carlo, which adds several more layers of conflict, threatening to age Tito even more quickly.
When he leaves in a snit, another tenor is heard humming in the hallway. Enter gondoliere-turned-bellhop Beppo, who could be Tito’s twin. He is the answer to Saunders’ fervent prayers, and of course, sets up all sorts of wild opportunities for the action to run even more amok.
Director Marc Liby does yoeman’s work keeping this all together, when it could easily fall apart. Of course, it helps that he has an excellent cast performing on a stylish yet sturdy set. On opening weekend, the doors all opened on cue, even after being slammed. Fortunately, Marquetta Senters’ costumes are equally up to the task as they fall and fling with abandon throughout. Sean McCall, alone, has 10 major and two minor costume changes. That, alone, is worth the price of admission.
The hotel high-jinks and divo deviltry continue through Sept. 30.
l Comments: (319) 368-8508; email@example.com
WHAT: “A Comedy of Tenors”
WHERE: Old Creamery Theatre, 39 38th Ave., Amana
WHEN: To Sept. 30; 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday
TICKETS: $19.50 to $31.50; (319) 622-6262 or Oldcreamery.com