While crackerjack performances might have transformed Ken Ludwigs second-rate farce into a hilarious evening, thats not what evolves from director Richard Israels pleasant but unevenly rendered production. Ludwigs play revolves around Leo (Bruce Ladd) and Jack (understudy Daniel J. Roberts), two penniless Shakespearean actors who pose as the long-lost female heirs of a dying, wealthy old woman. The humor derives from the tension between them Jack, the reluctant participant, is continually threatened and browbeaten by Leo (think Some Like It Hot), as well as the predicament Leo finds himself in when, dressed in drag, he falls in love with his betrothed cousin, Meg (Karla Droege). Played for laughs, the sight gag of men dressed as women invariably succeeds; in this case Ladd starts out strong as the determined scammer, but is only moderately funny portraying his outsized female counterpart Maxine, whose persona he never quite commands. The plays funniest scene comes near the end when, as Stephanie, a horrified Jack (well played by Roberts) finds himself manhandled by two men. Intimating the standard of excellence that might have transported the comedy to a higher realm is Carl A. Johnson, impeccably understated as Megs stuffy fiancé. Gus Correas is also on the mark as the lecherous family doctor who keeps misdiagnosing his patient. Other performances are off-kilter or over the top. Designers Stephen Giffords and Jeremy Pivnicks lighting wrap the goings-on with an appealing ambiance.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 10. Continues through Nov. 16, 2008