For the next week and a half, Georgia Ensemble Theatre is treating Atlanta audiences to an evening of pure farce.
Complete with mistaken identity, family drama, and a little bit of music, A Comedy of Tenors is absurd hilarity from beginning to end. The Lend Me a Tenor sequel by Ken Ludwig sees producer Henry Saunders (Robert Egizio) trying to keep his tenor trio together for a huge concert in Paris. But knowing artists and their temperaments, Henry’s fate has to be none other than running around like a chicken with its head cut off until the last scene. Chaotic highlights include: tenor Tito Merelli (Brian Kurlander), his wife Maria (Courtenay Collins), and their daughter Mimi (Lyndsay Ricketson) falling apart at the seams, plus Mimi’s man (Haden Rider) of whom Tito doesn’t approve, and more messes involving Henry’s son-in-law Max (John Markowski), the bell-boy, and a saucy ginger.
Let’s go ahead and clarify that the “mature content” advisory is for real, so please don’t bring your 10-year-old twins.
Under the superb direction of Shelly McCook, Tenor 2 epitomizes feel-good escapism comedy, with a firm grasp on classic farce- in this case, physical comedy for days. Highlights include a pants debacle culminating in stair-hopping (I can’t explain it- you just have to see it), recurring non sequitur sign language, and opera references.
Collins slays as the melodramatic Maria, opposite Kurlander’s non-stop, flawless diva antics as Tito. As Mimi, Lyndsay Ricketson delivers a magnificently over-the-top, unhinged performance, taking schmacting to a whole new level. Rounding out the cast, Lane Carlock delightfully barges into the narrative with simultaneous strength and oblivion, Haden Rider brings expert comedy to Carlo, and the always brilliant Egizio plays the no-nonsense Henry Saunders, frequently juxtaposed hilariously with John Markowski’s berated Max.
It’s funny. It’s warm and fuzzy. It’s relatable. And there’s a cash wine bar in the lobby, so what’s not to love?
Photo credits: Dan Carmody/Studio7