A review of Theatre Palisades’ “A Comedy of Tenors,” written by Ken Ludwig, directed by Sherman Wayne and produced by Martha Hunter, running through December 12.
This truly hilarious play is the sequel to “Lend Me a Tenor” and is set in 1930s Paris in a hotel suite in a grand hotel. Henry Saunders is the producer of a new show staring three famous tenors and is put through the ringer by tempestuous Italian tenor, Tito Morelli, his wife Maria and their actress daughter Mimi, as well as Tito’s ex wife Racon aching to renew their romance. Another very nervous younger tenor Carlo, who is secretly in love with Tito’s daughter and who Tito views as a possible operatic rival, is replacing the Swedish tenor Henry hired who cancelled because his mother inconveniently died. Then there’s Max, who is also an aspiring tenor and Henry’s son in law, whose wife is back home in the US about to give birth to their baby. Add to this the miraculous discovery of a savant singing bellboy, Beppo, an operatic virtuoso whose remarkable resemblance to Tito almost makes him the star of the concert and a lover to both of the wives!
It’s a lot…but the best comedies always are, aren’t they!?
It’s a farcical tour de force. But a play like this could easily go either way, without a good director holding it all together and excellent actors capable of creating characters that are as believable as they are comedic. Theatre Palisades’ production of “A Comedy of Tenors” is the perfect collision of all these things. The actors are delightful, disarmingly good in fact. They balance the drama and the comedy perfectly. Never seeming over the top, even when the plot requires it and always performing with the most fabulous comic timing and panache.
I’m English, so I’m very partial to a good farce. This production did not disappoint! Gorgeous set, lovely wardrobe, even the singing wasn’t half bad, although the play doesn’t require too much of it. I also loved how they used the audience as part of the performance, how they adapted the stage to the stadium full of screaming fans at the end of the show. Subtle, clever and very effective.
Theatre Palisades’ “A Comedy of Tenors” is a great show and I highly recommend it. Pacific Palisades is a lovely destination for just about anything. So, why would theatre be any different? The Pierson Playhouse theatre itself is beautiful and petite and very well appointed. It lends itself perfectly to this kind of production and I must say, the audience was as happy with the show as I was. We need some fun and some laughs don’t we? And “A Comedy of Tenors” has both in bucket loads!! Bravo!!!!
Henry Saunders – Greg Abbott
Mimi – Rivers Cassedy
Carlo – Dante Greco
Tito – Peter Miller
Maria – Maria O’Conner
Max – Michael Osborn
Racon – Lara Preston
Beppo – Evan Valencia
Set and Lighting – Sammie Wayne
Sound Design – Susan Stangl
Costume Design – Alta Abbott
November 5 through December 12
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm
941 Temescal Canyon Road
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272