Thursday, March 23, 2017

review - LEADING LADIES - Fountain Hills Theater

Roger Prenger and Terry Gadaire
Photo by Patty Torrilhon
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through April 2nd.

"...playwright Ken Ludwig exploded on the Broadway scene with his play Lend Me a Tenor and his book for the musical Crazy for You. While he hasn't quite achieved the success of those two shows ...he has continued to produce numerous comical plays over the years. One of the best of these is Leading Ladies....feature plenty of humorous situations. Fountain Hills Theater's production features a talented cast who throw themselves into the piece and achieve big laughs as a result...Two down on their luck English Shakespearean actors, Jack and a story in the paper that tells of an elderly local woman who is about to die and leave two-thirds of her inheritance to her two long lost English nephews whom she has yet to meet. Leo comes up with the brilliant scheme to pass themselves off as the two nephews...however Jack and Leo discover they didn't read the entire article and the two nephews Steve and Max are actually the woman's nieces Stephanie and Maxine...
Director Petey Swartz has found a winning cast who not only create fun characters but also do exceptionally well in achieving the frenzied, high energy comic style of acting the play requires. Terry Gadaire and Roger Prenger form a winning twosome as Leo and Jack. Gadaire is commanding as the manipulative Leo with a refined sense of balance between control and urgency plus heightened comical gestures that deliver big laughs...Prenger...blossoms in act two in several scenes where his body and facial expressions as Stephanie achieve guffaw-inducing moments....Morgan Ottersbach is vibrant and charming as the old woman's niece Meg, who would receive all of the inheritance if her two cousins were never found. This is something not lost on Duncan, the local minister to whom she is engaged and who already has plans for the funds. Dan Marburger does well as Duncan, the antagonist of the play, instilling this prickly and cheapskate man with just the right amount of suspicion that the two ladies are frauds...Swartz's direction delivers many bright, comical moments yet she also ensures that the cast create realistic people and not just comical caricatures. ...Leading Ladies may not be quite as funny as Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor, which is full of slamming doors and craziness, but with a game cast, polished comical direction, and lovely creative elements, Fountain Hills' production delivers lovable characters and opportunities for some really big laughs." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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