Tuesday, November 24, 2009

At B Street, British farce celebrates Christmas

For its twelfth holiday world premiere, Sacramento’s B Street Theatre takes a bold step: an original British farce, written especially for the occasion. What’s more, it’s written and directed by the B Street’s producing artistic director, Buck Busfield. Farce, by the way, is an exaggerated form of comedy, with caricatures for characters, horseplay and ridiculous situations. What’s more, British farce has its own special conventions, as witness Sacramento Theatre Company’s “Noises Off,” which recently closed at The Wells Fargo main stage.

At the risk of condescension, let me say that Busfield, an American native, actually pulled it off. Though the accents are slightly off here and there, a solid cast captures the conventions and capers that delight our British brothers. The story revolves around a catastrophic Christmas party, thrown by Kipling Pillaker (Michael Stevenson) for his son Percy (Stephanie Altholz), who lives with his estranged wife, Belinda (Kristin Wolf).

The action includes a whole army of screwy characters, with a sprinkle of normal ones, who display the virtuosity of B Street’s popular regulars. They include Stephanie McVay, John Lamb, Peter Story, Greg Alexander, Kurt Johnson and David Pierini.

The story, though a propos, may not be an immortal classic but it’s good for a couple of hours of uninhibited laughter. For details and a review, go to http://www.villagelife.com/story.php?id=692.0.

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