By Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com
The fleet-footed cast is (prone, front) Shanna Brock, (middle L to R) Christopher Younggren,
Matthew Copley, Michael Woodson, (back L to R) Janet Roby, Cliff Madison,
Allison Akmajian, India Osborne
Generally speaking, farce is to theater what those Roadrunner movie cartoons are to movies – outrageous action that takes great joy in flaunting its improbability. On Tucson's eastside at Live Theatre Workshop, while we sleep peacefully in our beds, energetic boys and girls are developing farce into an aerobic art form.
Chief among them, functioning at a high level of speed and temperature, is Stephen Frankenfield. His pace and energy make the word “manic” seem like not nearly enough, like several more vowels or capital letters are needed.
“I have always loved the physical elements of (farce)...a much more dramatic style of theater than some would think....that keeps me coming back for more,” Frankenfield wrote in the program notes for LTW's newest production, “Move Over Mrs. Markham” by Ray Cooney and John Chapman.
Frankenfield is the director, choreographing a cast of nine that keep the pedal to the metal, generating high rpm comedy along with a couple of hundred door slams, couch dances and disappearing acts, not to mention the mistaken identities and embarrassing situations.
It's all very British, you know. Cooney has been a favorite of the Brits for decades.