The hallmark of a professional comedy is likeable characters and snappy punchlines executed with precision, speed and pace.
The Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society’s latest show, Death & Taxe$, takes a slew of ‘I have met you before’ characters, throws in an element of death, a sprinkle of finance and glues it all together with sexual tension and innuendo to create a professional and genuinely funny viewing experience.
The mad dog lady, the movie buff, the beige lady (in appearance and personality), the uptight mummy’s boy, the silver sleaze, the flirty receptionist and the socially awkward executive, the characters of Death & Taxe$, directed by Eddie Roberts, take the stereotypes to the funny extreme.
The audience is first introduced into the world of Destiny Assurance insurance sales when the bubbly and scantily clad secretary Tiffany, played by Sophie Taylor, prances onto the stage with more concern for her appearance than her job.
Character by character, the world builds until we are smack bang in the middle of the motley crew team meeting. where the sledging flies think and fast.
Gareth Burke (Richard Morris) is being challenged by Lucille (Grainne Hendry) for his position as top dog salesman and the ultimate prize of a trip to Waikiki.
No chance, Gareth thinks.
But Lucille has an ace up her sleeve as she slips in and out of her alter ego as the referral making, telephone soothsayer Madam Lucrecia.
The cleverly constructed characters hinge on their relationships with one another.
The plot reaches a whole other level when the manic-depressive corporate motivator Doug Graves (Ross Hay) comes into the mix.
Bumbling, neurotic, yet somehow enigmatic, Hay’s character’s appearance is enough to spark laughter.
Articulated and methodical in speech, the retelling of his PTSD inducing sexual encounter with a yak in Tibet conjures images that are so wrong they are right.
When mummy’s boy Bob, played by Thomas Goodwin, makes an appearance in his cycling lycra the jokes cleverly centre on the elephant in the room – his larger than life manhood.
As the plot thickens to incorporate tax dodging, infidelity sub plots and more, the story ventures into the realms of absurdity, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable.
With snappy dialogue and forays into flailing slapstick, the Ulverstone Repertory Society has successfully performed the fine balancing act of presenting an absurd and ridiculous comedy that induces genuinely laughter – even if some are of the roll your eyes HAHA dad variety.
Source: Advocate Newspaper