Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 17, 2013

Lend Me A Tenor

New Century Theatre, Northampton, MA
through June 22, 2013
by Eric Johnson

Nothing says “let the summer theatre season begin” better than a good farce, set on a stage with six, count ‘em six, yes that’s right six, functioning doors beckoning to be flung open and slammed. Mistaken identities, characters in various stages of undress, compromising positions, and incidents of borderline insanity now have a perfect setting for the madness to begin. Add to this, a group of seasoned and talented actors and the stage is set for an evening of pure entertainment and lots of laughter.

The wonderfully detailed set design by Dan Rist immediately lets the observer know that it is a hotel suite, circa 1930s, complete with art deco designs on the doors.

Performances by the extremely talented cast, under the direction of Jack Neary, elicited almost non-stop laughter from the opening night audience, which is as it should be. This is a top-notch production of a very funny show.

Steve Brady and Brian Argotsinger, as Saunders and Max, have great chemistry and timing in the numerous scenes involving only this duo, almost channeling Abbott and Costello at one point in a hysterical rapid fire dialog sequence. Sandra Blaney, always a joy to see on stage, plays a marvelous mixture of innocence and wantonness as Maggie.

Tito and Maria are brilliantly portrayed by Sam Samuels and Lisa Abend. They step onto the stage with intensity and energy as a bickering couple, with an emphasis on heavy Italian accented English. Margaret Streeter, as Diana, is alluring and sexy, especially when she appears wrapped in a bath towel. The Bellhop, enthusiastically played by James Emery, is a great character and Emery knows it, bringing full commitment to his character’s mission to meet Tito. Julie Robbins also does a splendid job of bringing the supporting role of Julia to the forefront whenever she is on stage.    

“Lend Me a Tenor” is a fast paced, laugh out loud production well worth seeing. So, let the summer theatre season begin!