Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Laugh a lot with 'Leading Ladies' at Reading Community Players

By Cheryl Thornburg
If you’ve heard the expression “from the ridiculous to the sublime,” Reading Community Players’ current show, “Leading Ladies” is both. It’s sublimely ridiculous.
Playwright Ken Ludwig’s farce uses classic elements such as men pretending to be women to tell the tale of two down-and-out Shakespearean actors who are reduced to performing at Moose Halls and Elks lodges.
Enter Leo Clark, played by Brian Miller, and Jack Gable, played by Randy Miller, as the duo determined to get back to performing in real theaters. While traveling to their next gig, they read about a wealthy elderly woman who is seeking relatives named Max and Steve who moved to England as children. After she dies, the two would share her fortune with her only other heir, a niece named Meg.  As they put their plan in motion, things seem to be going well, until they discover that Max and Steve are women, Maxine and Stephanie, and they are forced to create their feminine alter egos. And this is when the hilarity really takes off.
Brian Miller is a fine comedic actor, but he takes his role as Maxine to a whole new level.  Matching him toe-to-toe in heels is Randy Miller as Stephanie. As the quick changes become almost frenetic in the second act, the two had the house roaring with laughter.
They didn’t corner the market on laughter, however, Lisa Uliasz delivered a bubbly, likeable Meg, who is a big fan of – Shakespearean actor Leo Clark, setting the stage for classic romantic comedy situations a la “Some Like It Hot.”
Pat Perfect landed arguably the most fun role in the show, that of Florence Snider, the elderly spinster who seems to have as many lives as a cat, and she makes the most of it.  She steals just about every scene she’s in with her antics and outrageous expressions and the audience loved it!
The show’s other funny lady, Audrey, a naïve, roller-skating cutie, is played to perfection by Diana D'Auria. It’s no wonder that Jack Gable and the audience fall in love with her.
Adding to all the insanity are John Fielding as Duncan Wooley, an uptight minister who is Meg’s fiancé; Bob Barskey as Doc Myers, who delivers some of the best one-liners in the show; and Edwin Rodriguez as Bruce Myers, Doc’s son.
Director Tara Sands once again demonstrated she has a knack for comedy. She also directed Ludwig’s “Lend Me A Tenor” for Fleetwood Community Theatre last season.

“Leading Ladies” continues through April 29, with performances Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the RCP Playhouse, 403 North 11th St. in Reading.
A free shuttle provided by the theatre will be available from the Citadel parking lot at 12th and Walnut streets. RCP suggests that drivers drop off passengers at the theatre and then proceed to the lot at the Citadel.
Reservations may be made through Brown Paper Tickets, found at www.readingcommunityplayers.org or by calling the theatre at 610-375-9106.


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