Some people call playwright Ken Ludwig the “reigning king of theatrical farce.” The clever, witty dialog and wacky situations in The Gods of Comedy, justify that title. This show is a mix of madcap mayhem with a little bit of romance. It elicits an abundance of hearty laughter from the audience (including me)! This farce is rich with mistaken identities, disguises and witty plays on words. One of the characters identifies as being eunuch—oops, they mean unique. Misinterpretations of idioms provide laughs–for example, “pulling my leg.” Just picture it.
Daphne (Amanda Weber) uses a talisman that was given to her by a street vendor (Elias Diamond), to summon the Gods of Ancient Greece. She needs their assistance to help her locate a valuable missing antique book, and to find actors to replace the two actors who quit a production of Medea (that she’s directing) before the opening. That’s when things get cray cray. . .
The Gods that show up are, “Ta Da,” the Gods of Comedy!
Not exactly what Weber was hoping for. Dionysus (Tom Kolos) and Thalia (Carina Iannarelli) are the hapless Gods. These two have great chemistry. They play off each other with the warmth of centuries old friends, as immortals do. The laughs they get are frequent and well deserved. Their comedic timing and physicality are a joy to watch. Some of the posturing and posing Kolos strikes are hilarious! As is his unruly, flopping, lopsided crown of leaves and grapes. Iannarelli’s mercurial mood and tone changes are nuanced and perfect. A sideways look, a toss of the hair, a subtle shift in posture, a change in her voice–purring, flirtatious, conspiratorial–brilliant!
The entire cast is very strong and well cast in their roles. Amanda Weber shows a frantic, yet sweet vulnerability in her portrayal of Daphne. She makes us feel for her and her predicament. Elias Hammond expertly plays three roles with completely different personalities and all with lovable authenticity. Who can’t help loving his portrayal of the over the top, satirically fierce Ares, God of War? Renee Ruzzi-Kern gets to exercise her comedic skills, getting her lots of laughs. Johnny Terreri convincingly plays a lovable geek. Elizabeth Glyptis is a movie star with the perfect amount of confidence, self absorption and arrogance.
The beautiful, softly lighted set in Act 2 features Greek columns, flowering trees (or grapes on vines–not sure which but, it doesn’t matter–it’s aesthetically pleasing), and a lovely Greek (sort of) sculpture on a pedestal. Kudos to Liam Grand for the lighting design and Sabrina Hykes-Davis for the set design. The costume design (Julie Lang) is often whimsical (Ares) and sometimes elegant (Thalia, Dean Trinket)
This endearing uproarious farce is a perfect way to forget the everyday stresses, suspend reality and laugh out loud.
– Lonnie Jantsch
“The Gods of Comedy” is playing through May 20th at South Park Theater, Corrigan Dr & Brownsville Road, South Park, PA 15129.