Theatre Review

Burbage's 'School for Lies' hysterically funny

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Want to laugh until it hurts?

I’m not lying when I tell you that Burbage Theatre’s first production in their new home is two hours and 15 minutes of hysterical mayhem that will have you leaving the theatre chuckling.

David Ives has taken Moliere’s “Le Misanthrope,” updated the language and plot and created a classic interpretation of “The School for Lies.”

Artistic Director Jeff Church has assembled an ideal cast that knows perfect comic timing, putting them in a lovely French-style room, complete with chandeliers and a huge couch (set by Andrew Iacovelli) and let them loose to squeeze every ounce of humor out of the modern rhyming script that gets perfect elocution and clever rhyming.

Catia plays Celimene, a widow who is dealing with three inept suitors (Richard Noble, Matthew Fagan and Vince Petronio), when an arrogant stranger arrives, dressed in black and as cynical as cynical can be. Frank (James Lucy at his best), proceeds to slander everyone in sight, including Oranto, the poet, played with tongue in cheek and enormous nose by Vince Petronio.

The play is fast-paced and always changing direction, with twists and turns keeping the audience guessing as to what will happen next.

Like many French farces, the language is rampant with sexual innuendos and comes off as quite risqué. People are being sued for slander and suitors are making their blundered attempts to win the hand of Celimene, leading to a wild and crazy finale. The action never slows down, but it sure accelerates when Valerie Westgate’s character appears to muddy the waters.

And then there’s Andrew Iacovelli as the servant who accounts for the “Flying Canapés” that the audience is warned about by a Beware of Flying Canapés poster in the lobby. Iacovelli has other things to do in the play, but that’s part of a big surprise that we won’t spill.

Victor Neto and Gabrielle McCauley round out this terrific cast who collectively deliver one heck of a performance.

This is the ninth season for Burbage Theatre, the first in their new home at 59 Blackstone Ave., not far from their previous home.

“The School for Lies” plays Thursdays through Sundays through October 20. General admission tickets are a bargain at $25, $15 for students. For information and reservations call 484-0355.

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