Thursday, May 5, 2016

"The Heir Apparent: ☼ ☼ ☼

Early Eighteenth Century French farce updated for relevance for modern audiences, "The Heir Apparent" is witty and enjoyable. Playwright-Adapter David Ives and a terrific cast keep us chuckling as the plot thickens and those who are about to die never quite do.

Written originally (in 1708) by Jean-Francois Regnard and told entirely in rhyming couplets, we have a familiar story: the rich old aristocrat Geronte (Julian Lopez-Morillas) appears to be on his last legs, so the race is on to see who can score his estate. Nephew Eraste (Kenny Toll) has the closest claim and he hopes his girl friend's mother Argante (Elizabeth Carter) can help secure his financial fortunes. The old man has other ideas, including marrying Argante's daughter Isabelle (Khalia Davis), who just happens to be Eraste's beloved.

As we all know, francs are the root of all evil.

It all comes down to what Scruple, the very short lawyer, says. Played on his knees by Lawrence Radecker, Scruple's scruples (or lack thereof) will determine who gets the cash, that is, if the old man ever dies. 

Performing an entire show in bawdy rhyme showcases the skill of the ensemble. We loved many of the rhymes, but rhyming "feminist" with "enemas" is probably our favorite.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "The Heir Apparent" Three Stars. French rhyming farce, admirable in execution, the show has moments that rise above slapstick into true humor with a bite. Katie Rubin and Patrick Kelly Jones bring humor to their roles as Servant Schleps. We loved Callie Floor's costumes, especially the maroon outfit Geronte sports as his demise proves to have been postponed.

"The Heir Apparent"
Aurora Theatre
2081 Addison Street, Berkeley
EXTENDED through May 22

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