BANGOR – Penobscot Theater is a week into its current production of “The Underpants” by Steve Martin (Yes, they’ll tell you, that Steve Martin). If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to call the box office and get yourself a ticket (942-3333). Laughter is good medicine, and they will give you a hearty dose.
Steve Martin, always entertaining as a performer, reaches a different level of comic genius with the written word. In adapting Carl Sternheim’s 100 year old German farce for a modern audience, Martin makes full use of his skill. His playful acrobatics with language keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try not to miss any of the witty lines that are batted back and forth around the stage.
“The Underpants” tells the tale of Theo and Louise Maske, a young, conservative couple whose lives are thrown into chaos after the accidental dropping of Louise’s drawers during a public gathering. The Maskes’ initial hope that the brief incident might go unnoticed is quickly shattered when two smitten suitors show up at their door to rent a room from “that woman” who changed their lives. A worldly female neighbor who lives upstairs serves as a catalyst to push her friend Louise out of her complacency with Theo and into a deliciously daffy dance of love, lies, and deceit.
The cast of six does a fine job of delivering Martin’s rapid paced lines with skillful comic timing, using silence and body language to convey just as much humor as the lines themselves. In a series of over-the-top fantasy sequences, riotously choreographed and with terrific music, we see into the inner soul of some of the characters in surprising ways.
Of particular note are the performances by Natalie Kuhn as Louise Maske and Adam Laupus as a flamboyant poet prone to grand entrances and exits. The chemistry between these two was both captivating and hilarious.
Also – a nod of appreciation goes to set designer Lex Liang. The whimsical stage setting had enough to keep you interested throughout the show, even without a single scene change. Bright umbrellas and pinwheels hang at odd angles above a rather off-balance set that is the Maske’s home, something like a cross between Alice in Wonderland and a scene from The Honeymooners.
It is naughty and funny, clever and surprising, sure to make audiences smile or even laugh out loud.
Call the box office at 942-3333. Here are the times for the remaining shows.
June 5, 4:00 and 8:00
June 6, 3:00
June 10, 7:00
June 11, 8:00
June 12, 4:00 and 8:00
June 13, 3:00
It is a guaranteed night of fun. And get there soon – you might even want to go twice.
No Further Information is Available
Telephone Number: 207-942-3333