On opening night of “A Flea in Her Ear” there was an authenticity amidst the low lighting, the idle chatter and “Fly Me to the Moon” playing in the background that created a jazzy ambience in the mainstage auditorium.
Multicolored lights cast geometric shadows on the royal purple curtains of the stage and a well-chosen collection of swing music played on a loop.
“A Flea in Her Ear” is a new version of Georges Feydeau’s Farce by David Ives and directed by Matt Foyer. The play takes place in France during the 1960s and follows the “flea” in Raymonde Chandebise’s (played by Brittany Coleman) ear that makes her believe her husband, Victor Chandebise (Arghishti Stepanian) is cheating on her.
Slideshow Media Credit:Jonathan Williams
With the help of her childhood friend, Lucienne Homenides de Histangua (Antonieta Castillo), Raymonde concocts a letter from a fictional admirer. Once he receives the letter, Victor believes the letter to be for his friend, Romain Tournel (Anthony Carter). Misunderstandings occur at the hotel and the drama escalates into one exciting chase scene complete with Victor’s doppelgänger, Poche, a man with a horrible speech impediment and a pistol-wielding Spaniard.
“A Flea in Her Ear” is a farce that entertains with physical comedy, naughty humor, and hilarious mix-ups. Matt Foyer directs it excellently and on opening night, the play ran smoothly. Foyer’s own splash of style in the play is evident especially when he added seductive little dance numbers into the scenes and other details such as the double pelvic thrust into Ferraillon’s (Kyle Tristan Chua) stage direction.
The chase scenes of the play were well orchestrated, effective and fun especially as we see characters running in and out of the doors, becoming trapped on a revolving bed and colliding into Olympia (Marla Macarr), the wife of the owner of the Frisky Pussy Hotel.
Arghisti Stepanian, who played Victor Chandebise and Poche, was especially impressive as he only had moments to change in and out of costume as well as in and out of the mindset of different characters.
It was evident that the play was well rehearsed by the actors. The challenging role of Camille, a character who for most of the play is unable to pronounce consonants, was brought to life by Tayler Burgard. Burgard played Camille flawlessly and it was a wonder that some of his words could be understood despite his lack of consonants. Aldo Garcia Padilla who played Don Carlos Homenides de Histangua was especially entertaining and was perfectly cast for his role. His spanish accent – the cause of hysterics amongst the audience – was spot on.
There were some moments during the play when the actors had a mouthful of lines and words were hard to hear in the case of Carter and Coleman, but otherwise, the actors were heard clearly.
Lighting design by Bosco Flanagan left the stage visible when needed and dimmed lights when necessary. There was one instance at the beginning of the play however, when the lights over the audience did not dim slowly into darkness until a few minutes after the play. Besides that, the warm lighting during the first and last scenes matched up well with the scenes at the Chandebise residence and props reflected well on the location.
The set created by Guido Girardi was an architectural work of art. The working stairs, doors and the rotating bed added to the wonderful design done. The costume design by Royce Herron hit its target with the 1960s era of the play set in France.
All of the elements of the production came together splendidly, resulting in a charming, hilarious and must-see play. It has some adult themes and language and runs for approximately two and a half hours. The play runs Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Mainstage Theater.