What a farce!

By By Lisa Anderson

By Lisa Anderson

A French farce is that wild kind of comedy that is punctuated by slamming doors and fresh-feeling stereotypes.

Pioneer Memorial Theatre’s “The Ladies Man” drops us into the very moment in which a web of lies begins to unravel and tells the story of a man who is desperately seeking sanity in an out-of-control marriage.

Meet Dr. Molineaux (Max Robinson), a French gentleman who is married to a much younger woman. He has encountered some difficulties, and in typical farce fashion has chosen some very precarious solutions. His lies catch up with him and threaten to drown him, but he keeps ahead of the game, if only by a hair.

This serves to prolong the action–possibly a little longer than necessary.

The doctor’s young and pretty wife, Yvonne, is played by Michelle Six. She is easy to love, allowing us to sympathize with the good doctor’s plight.

Molineaux’s growling beast of a mother-in-law, played by Nance Williamson, turns up the dial on the pressure he is under in his state of near-frenzy, but lucky for us, that only serves to turn up the dial on the humor.

The show wouldn’t be complete without a bumbling sidekick, if an unintentional one. Molineaux’s comes in the form of a patient who is drawn into the fray by mere coincidence. John Guerrasio plays Bassinet, the patient-turned-sidekick, and we are charmed by his innocence laced with ignorance, while his seemingly contagious speech impediment trips the tongues of all those he encounters.

Director Charles Morey translated and revamped Georges Feydeau’s 19th-century play “Tailleur pour Dames” from the original French script, and even though this was the debut, it felt like a classic.

“The Ladies Man’s” warm and imaginative costumes and set provide the proper flow for the action and slip us seamlessly into the proper time and place for the story’s setting.

The well-timed and authentic comedy was sprinkled with lovely little dirty jokes–the icing on the cake. After all, what would a French farce be without a little lewdness?

Max Robinson and Kurt Zische hold back Michelle Six and Anney Giobbe in “The Ladies Man.”