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REVIEW: Unnecessary Farce at Richmond Hill Players

Richmond Hill Players

Well, it’s November folks and the Quad Cities theatre scene is winding down its 2023 season and Richmond Hill Players in Geneseo is closing out their year with Unnecessary Farce directed by Jonathan Grafft and written by Paul Slade Smith who, incidentally, also penned The Outsider which recently closed at Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse.

Playscripts website describes this show – which I’m editing to include character names – as: “Two cops. Three crooks (Agent Frank, Todd, and Mary Meekly). Eight doors. Go. In a cheap motel room, an embezzling mayor (Mayor Meekly) is supposed to meet with his female accountant (Karen), while in the room next-door, two undercover cops (Eric and Billie) wait to catch the meeting on videotape. But there's some confusion as to who's in which room, who's being videotaped, who's taken the money, who's hired a hit man, and why the accountant keeps taking off her clothes.”

That description makes this show sound a bit more prurient than it actually is and it definitely hits all the buttons defining farce. And, although the staging falls short of being a bit riské in that the Karen’s “disrobing” wouldn’t even qualify for a beach outing nor do she and Eric actually kiss it merely adds to their campy portrayals bringing out chuckles all around.

Heading up the cast are Nathan Johnson as Eric and Jessica White as Karen. As Officer Billie Dwyer is RHP’s ever present Dana Skiles, as Mayor Meekly is Scott Harl who, get this, has actually served four terms as the real mayor of Peru, Illinois, as his wife Mary is Katie Orwig, as Todd is Jessica’s husband, Chris White and as Agent Frank is the always delightful Mike Kelly.

Five gold stars go out to Chris White for his hilarious Scottish accent to deliver some very difficult lines and a standing ovation for Mike Kelly who is still recovering from a fractured leg last August which required not one, but two, surgeries and is still using one of those scooter thingies which, I might add, he used to his advantage for even more chuckles. He is the personification of what it means to be a “trooper.”

This set was a definite challenge for RHP’s limited space as it required six doorways plus two hotel rooms. It was tight, especially for Kelly to maneuver his scooter, but they pulled it off.

So, hey, why not take advantage of this giggle-fest of a show to start off the holiday season?

Unnecessary Farce continues at Richmond Hill Players in Geneseo Thursday through Saturday, November 16 through 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 19 at 3:00 p.m.

I’m Chris Hicks…break a leg.