By PAM HARBAUGH
A London hospital turns into a place for madcap antics in Ray Cooney’s farce “It Runs in the Family,” currently reaping laughs at Melbourne Civic Theatre.
The ever-accelerating action in this farce revolves around Dr. David Mortimore (Gordon Ringer) as he is about to deliver an important speech to a gathering of neurologists.
While dreams of a possible knighthood fill his mind, a former paramour (Tynan Pruett) visits and drops a bombshell — he has an 18 year-old son. In an effort to keep the secret from Sir Willoughby (Steve Budkiewicz) and Mrs. Mortimore (Nadine Antaillia), he turns to a friend, Dr. Bonney (a wonderfully frenzied Peter Olander) who claims fatherhood of the son in questions.
Together, the duo weave a fantastical web of lies which become more and more ludicrous with the introduction of new characters.
And what a set of characters, such as: a Bobby (Daniel Wilkerson), a spikey-hair teenager (energetic Alexander Edwards), a humorless nurse with a unibrow (Donna Furfaro), a belligerent patient (funny Steven Costner), an effeminate doctor (Pete Jacobsen) who dons an array of costumes as he gets ready to perform in a Boxing Day show, and a mixed up elderly mother (Mary Jane Zimmerman). Also taking a role is a well-placed window ledge large enough for a small crowd and one scantily clad patient who has the cheek to reveal his derriere (yes, hold onto your fans, ladies, there is brief nudity).
This is all meat and potatoes for director Peg Girard, who probably has mounted more farces than Mr. Cooney has written. There are very funny moments and the pace accelerates so quickly that you’re barely catching your breath from one guffaw when there appears yet another. (Although she does need to get Mr. Ringer to allow his character a bigger reaction to the discovery that he has a child…even a spit take would do.)
While this may not be the most wittily resonating production, nor the best looking you’ll see on MCT’s stage, it quickly lets you slip into frothy little comic bits that keep you laughing throughout.
For a short video giving you a glimpse at the characters, click here.
SIDE O’ GRITS: “It Runs in the Family” runs through March 1 at Melbourne Civic Theatre, 817 E. Strawbridge Ave., Melbourne. It performs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25 general and $23 seniors, military and students. Credit card purchases include a $2 handling fee. Call 321-723-6935 or visit www.MyMCT.org.