The new Menander Theatre Company is off to a rousing start with a harum-scarum production of this classic French farce by Georges Feydeau, nimbly translated by Nicholas Rudall. The hotel in question is a disreputable house of assignation (it advertises hourly and group rates) where, by a series of unlikely coincidences, most of the characters wind up. M. Pinglet (Philip DAmore) is attempting to elude his domineering wife (Catie LeOrisa) in order to seduce Marcelle (Jeanne Simpson), the wife of his neighbor Paillardin (Michael Bonabel), whos also visiting the hotel for reasons of his own. The sassy French maid Victoire (Eris Migliorini) is out to seduce the clueless young philosophy student Maxime (Chris Arnst). Mathieu (Jim Kohn), a man who stutters only when it rains, thinks the Paradise is a respectable hostelry, and puts up there with his three daughters (Karen Grim, Jen Hoyt and Liza Morgan). The hotel manager (Sid Veda) specializes in spying on the guests, while the overzealous porter (Jason Thomas) is hell-bent on seducing Marcelle. Sex is in short supply, as confusions and contretemps escalate and multiply till loony Inspector Boucard (Eddie Pepitone) carts everybody off to jail. Its a genuinely funny rendition, skillfully played, and nicely directed by Gina Torrecilla. Meta Theatre, 7801 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through March 29.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: March 6. Continues through March 29, 2009