Story last updated at 11/18/2009 - 11:59 am
Perseverance Theatre's second play of the season, "Leading Ladies" by Ken Ludwig, is quite a leap from the season's first production, bringing a light-hearted, fast-paced story to the stage.
"Leading Ladies" simply tells the story of a not-so-simple scheme executed by two stage performers who attempt to act their way out of the poor house. The pair dress themselves as women in hopes of convincing a dying woman that they are her long-lost nieces and deserve to receive a large portion of her estate upon her passing.
Rand Bigelow and Dan Reume play Jack and Leo, at the same time donning wigs and braziers to double as Stephanie and Maxine, their female counterparts. Their gender crossing is executed with conviction and sheer talent.
Sometimes simplest is best on the stage, especially when there is no need to distract from subpar acting, and in "Leading Ladies" there was no need. The majority of the production ran along smoothly with only minor pacing issues that were handled very professionally by the cast. At one point during the performance a tangled string (which I assume was not in the script) became a funny footnote to the comedy that was scripted, the cast laughing it off as if the knot was meant to be a part of the scene.
Time passed quickly as I was chuckling my way through the performance. I was engrossed in the stressful yet comical situations that the characters were facing.
It's hard to say if this production could have been better cast. Both new and familiar faces adorned the stage, complimenting each other marvelously.
Ben Brown shines as Duncan, a reverend who suspects that mischief is afoot but can't provide conclusive evidence. Margeaux Heaton, a Perseverance first-timer, brings talent from Skagway in her role as Audrey, a sanguine rollerskater. Both Brown and Heaton say so much with their animated expressions even when they aren't speaking a word.
During breaks in the action, wonderful musical interludes had the audience tapping their feet and singing along during intermission and scene changes.
"Leading Ladies" is sure to please audiences of all sorts, whether fans of the theater or not. If you like to laugh, you'll like "Leading Ladies."
Libby Sterling may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.