4 Stars (out of 4) – Anthony Chase, The Buffalo News – “Jane Austen through a kaleidoscope”

By Anthony Chase, Published January 19, 2019, Updated January 19, 2019

Jane Austen’s 1811 novel, “Sense and Sensibility,” spins across the stage with playful effervescence in Kate Hamill’s adaptation, now being performed at the Irish Classical Theatre Company … a whirlwind of contemporary theatricality … this may be Jane Austen, but you are free to laugh with hearty abandon.

“Sense and Sensibility” is the sprawling story of sensible Elinor and sensitive Marianne Dashwood … their father unexpectedly dies, leaving the family with precarious finances …

In typical Jane Austen fashion, the prosperity of these charming young women is now dependent upon making advantageous marriages … the hallmark of Jane Austen.  We are treated to Jane Austen as seen through a kaleidoscope of twirling images …

The production creates the illusion that everything we see is being invented spontaneously. Rainy weather is created with snapping fingers and patting of the actors’ hands against their bodies. Actors become dogs and horses; gardens and forests. … This lightness of tone permeates the production …

Kristen Tripp Kelley and Renee Landrigan are exquisite (as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood) … the central love story is really between these two sisters. The Misses Kelley and Landrigan are palpably charismatic …

Typically a leading lady, here Kate LoConti Alcocer sheds her accustomed glamor, dignity, and smoldering sexuality to play detestable Fanny Ferrars Dashwood and fortune-hunting Lucy Steele. These cartoon creations are delightful fun.

The suitors … are marvelous. … Each suffers beautifully for love … (Ben Michael) Moran, Anthony Alcocer and Brendan Didio are perfection …

Completing the ensemble of 10 are two of Buffalo’s most skillful character actors, Josephine Hogan and David Lundy … adding marvelous humor and affection to this very lovable show.

Fast-paced and irresistibly appealing, “Sense and Sensibility” provides a luxurious evening of humor and romance.


Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” by Irish Classical Theatre

4 stars (out of four)

Read full review @ https://buffalonews.com/2019/01/19/anthony-chase-irish-classicals-sense-sensibility-is-jane-austen-through-a-kaleidoscope/




Powerful … A strong production of one of Ireland’s most popular plays

3-1/2 Stars (out of 4)

by Melinda Miller, The Buffalo News

There is nothing epic about “Sive,” John B. Keane’s tragic family drama set in a small, rude farmhouse. This is a story of gritty survival, where poverty pushes people to make desperate choices with unconscionable results …

… there also are frequent moments of dark humor, the kind that is particularly Irish and especially enjoyable. And the excellent cast in Irish Classical Theatre Company’s production of the show relishes those moments, savoring Keane’s detail-rich language as they spit it across the stage at one another …

It is the story of an illegitimate orphan named Sive (Amherst High senior Kiana Duggan-Haas), who is raised by her uncle, Mike Glavin, and his wife, Mena, in the house they share with her grandmother. It is not a comfortable existence – their water comes out of a bucket, and the only warmth in the house, physical or emotional, comes from a peat-fueled fire.

… Mena (is) a desperately unhappy woman who is determined to blame others for her rough lot in life. Played with ferocious bite by Aleks Malejs, Mena barks and snaps at her mother-in-law, Nanna (played by Josephine Hogan at her crone-like best), over her affection for smoking and for Sive …

… the matchmaker Thomasheen (Ray Boucher) arrives to propose a deal: He will give the family 200 pounds in exchange for handing Sive over to marry an elderly but rich local farmer – a man old enough to be Sive’s granddad … in the rough landscape of rural Ireland, it smacks of human trafficking.

Boucher is fearless as the greedy advocate for the match, eloquently pointing out the advantages of the “arrangement,” even for Sive, who would be lady of a house … “She’ll live like a queen,” he proclaims.

But Sive loves a local boy, Liam Scuab (earnestly portrayed by Niagara U grad Peter S. Raymond), and they hope to someday marry. Their cause gets unexpected support from a pair of traveling tinkers …

(Gerry) Maher, a Buffalo stage veteran, and (Johnny) Barden, in his first professional show, play delightfully well together. While the elder tinker prophesizes of the dark fates awaiting those who would sell a child, the younger thumps on a bodhran …

David Lundy, fresh from appearing as the trainer in Irish Classical’s “Golden Boy,” is back as Sean Dota, the lecherous farmer who has his eye on Sive. Doddering and eager, this Dota is seemingly unaware that the object of his lust would have any feelings herself about the transaction.

Caught in the middle is Mike Glavin (Patrick Moltane), who laments on how impossible it is to be a good son and good husband in the same house, not to mention trying to do the right thing for his niece. Tragically, despite his moral struggles, he can’t escape the idea that “Money is the best friend a man ever had,” and the die is cast.

The action all takes place in the kitchen of the Glavin home, on an intricate set designed for full freedom of action by Brian Cavanagh. Wardrobe mistress Vivian del Bello and costume designer Bethany Kasperek get credit for the cast’s well-worn and neatly patched outfits, which added to the authenticity that director Vincent O’Neill drew out of his performers.

Click here for full review.


Theater review


3.5 stars

Strong production of one of Ireland’s most popular plays, a rural tragedy by John B. Keane powered by inescapable poverty, lust and class suffering. Presented by Irish Classical Theare Company in the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St., through Nov. 25. For tickets, go to irishclassical.com. There are post-show talk-backs with the cast on Thursdays and free Guinness for ticket-holders in the lounge after Friday shows.


“splendid … a gripping evening of theatre” – buffalovibe.com

By: Ann Marie Cusella, buffalovibe.com | Posted September 15th, 2018

“For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world yet suffer the loss of his soul?” These biblical words from Mark 8:36, while not spoken in the play, are at the heart of Clifford Odets’ 1937 classic, Golden Boy, a tragic treatise on the moral dilemma between the overweening desire for fortune versus following one’s heart and true nature. Such is the quandary faced by Joe Bonaparte, a struggling, talented young violinist who longs to be rich, to experience more of life, and “be somebody.” He is torn between the money and glamour of being a fighter and continuing his pursuit of the music that he loves.

Set in the world of depression-era boxing, Golden Boy is given a splendid treatment by Director Fortunato Pezzimenti at Irish Classical Theatre Company. This three-act play is riveting from start to finish. Every element of the production contributes to a seamless and gripping evening of theater. Scenes change in dim blue lighting (designed by Brian Cavanaugh) while cast members take their places and quietly begin the next scene, creating a feeling of continuity as one scene flows into the next, while mood music (designed by Tom Makar) sets the tone. Nothing detracts or distracts from the main event, the struggles of Joe, Lorna and Tom, as they strive to claim their places in an unforgiving world.

The callous, lowbrow sphere of 1930s boxing is as much a character in the play as are the people who inhabit it. Boxing is a blood sport, where “pieces” of fighters are up for sale, greed is the order of the day, and the men in the ring take incredible punishment to line the pockets of promotors and maybe, maybe find glory. Odets’ hard-nosed lyrical language provides a window into this tough society, as his characters confront and parry with each other in pursuit of their dreams.

Anthony Alcocer is Joe, the brash young man who fights himself more vigorously than he fights his opponents. Mr. Alcocer gives a layered performance, transforming from youthful charm and the innocent arrogance of the untested and untried into a very angry, egotistical man, full of loathing for himself and his sport. His trainer tells him, “Your heart ain’t in fighting. Your hate is…find something to love.” When faced with the reality of what he has done to himself, his misery and naïve belief that he can somehow fix it all is heartbreaking to watch.

Cassie Cameron is a wonder as Lorna Moon, the mistress of fight promotor Tom Moody. Ms. Cameron exudes the tough-broad image—hard-boiled, seen-it-all—who is willing to settle for being wanted by the mediocre promotor because that’s the best a girl like her can hope for. She is totally believable with her Jersey accent and sharp tongue, the wise-cracking blonde who knows what’s what. When that façade cracks, Ms. Cameron exposes the vulnerability beneath. She is superb.

Christian Brandjes is Tom Moody. He plays this part very well, the sort of likeable-at-first, greedy little man in over his head, desperate to believe in his own goodness while he sells what little honor he still possesses to the thug, Fuseli.

Eric Rawski plays Fuseli with a quiet menace that he backs up with violence when thwarted. Also, in the supporting cast, David Lundy is the kind trainer, Tokio. Adam Yellen is an amusing diversion as Joe’s twitchy brother-in-law Siggie, who has some very funny go-rounds with his wife, Anna (Arin Lee Dandes), who effortlessly keeps up with him in their sparring. Rolando Martin Gomez is Joe’s father, and does not seem to really inhabit the role, at times not quite reaching the depth of feeling required. Jeffrey Coyle overplays a bit as Roxy, one of the sleazy partner’s in the Bonaparte syndicate. Steve Jakiel, Gabriel Robere, David C. Mitchell, and Gerry Maher round out this fine cast.

I saw this three-hour, three-act play on the night of Curtain Up!. The sold-out audience was glued to their seats throughout, the party outside notwithstanding. No one left Golden Boy, a testament to the brilliance and timelessness of the script and the high quality of the production. Kudos to all!

“The Three Musketeers” comes to Shea’s 710 Theatre Nov. 1-18!

Strength.  Unity.  Courage.

Through these tenets, one can always defend his beliefs.  Set in 1625, this classic tale of swashbuckling adventure explores the themes of heroism, secrets and the greatest of all – love.  Come on an epic journey with our Musketeers in this collaborative production by five local theatres – giving new meaning to “all for one and one for all.”

Presented by All For One Theatre Productions:  Irish Classical Theatre, MusicalFare Theatre, Road Less Traveled Productions, Shea’s 710 Theatre and Theatre of Youth.

This production is being performed at Shea’s 710 Theatre and is not part of ICTC’s Subscription Season.  Tickets may be purchased through Shea’s Box Office/Ticketmaster.

Ticket prices vary.  Click here for tickets.

4 Stars (out of 4) – “A golden start” to ICTC’s 18-19 season – Anthony Chase, Buffalo News

There is a golden girl at the heart of the Irish Classical Theatre production of Clifford Odets 1937 classic, “Golden Boy,” and her name is Cassie Cameron.  Cameron gives a five-star performance in this four-star production.

It was inevitable that Irish Classical Theatre eventually arrive at the work of Odets.  The playwright modeled his plays on the work of Sean O’Casey, and is seminal in the development of a style of realistic American acting, which is also a hallmark of the Irish Classical Theatre.  The play is a perfect choice to open its 2018-2019 season.

This production is a seamless melding of Odets’ remarkable script with a cast that … inhabits the play’s large array of characters with sincerity, believability, and passion.

Christian Brandjes is focused and convincing … Rolando Martin Gomez gives a performance aching in its sincerity and authenticity …

… as golden boy Joe Bonaparte, Anthony Alcocer … here gives a career making turn.  He endows the fatally conflicted character with palpable humanity and complexity, in a performance that is grounded and contained … He is marvelous.

Read Anthony Chase’s full 4-Star review.in The Buffalo News.


“One of ICTC’s very best,” 3-1/2 Stars for “Lady Windermere’s Fan” – The Buffalo News

Wit wins out in ICTC’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” – Review by Colin Dabkowski, Published 7:00 a.m. June 6, 2018

The Irish Classical Theatre Company has a knack for choosing summertime comedies with just the right amount of froth.

Its latest, whipped up like some perfect theatrical cappuccino by director Josephine Hogan and her talented cast, is Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windemere’s Fan.” It hits just the right Wildean balance between cutting snark and probing insight into human fear and frailty …

As plots go, this one makes itself compelling by being patently unbelievable.

It involves the attempted return to London society of a mysterious woman with a reputation for bad behavior, played with extra relish on the side by Kate LoConti … Mrs. Erlynne (is) … the subject of everyone’s fascination … Her most ardent suitor Lord Augustus (Christian Brandjes, in fine comic form) (who) follows her around like a puppy …

LoConti, as expected, is marvelous in the role. She fully owns her character’s sense of entitlement …  LoConti’s scenes with the equally gifted (Arianne) Davidow (as Lady Windermere) serve as the genuine emotional ground from which all the play’s snarky comments and sendups grow.

… no one in the cast is better at delivering comic takedowns than Chris Kelley’s Cecil Graham … Kelley plays him with savage delight, a self-satisfied manner and an extraordinary accent that has probably never existed in the wild.

Not far behind him in the snark department is Colleen Gaughan as the Duchess of Berwick, into which Wilde has packed his worst opinions about the hypocritical London aristocracy.

Even the butler (David Lundy) gets in on it, treating certain guests with a raised eyebrow and withering disdain …

All of this unfolds … on Paul Bostaph’s marvelous set … Brian Cavanagh’s finely tuned lighting adds a glimmering sheen to the whole affair … Lise Harty’s costumes, from elegant ball gowns to stuffy tuxedos, assist in the suspension of our disbelief.

… the production is one of the Irish Classical’s very best.

Read full review @ http://buffalonews.com/2018/06/06/wit-wins-out-in-ictcs-lady-windemeres-fan/

Theater Review

3.5 stars (out of four)

“Lady Windemere’s Fan” runs through June 24 in the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. Tickets are $20 to $45. Call 853-4282 or visit irishclassical.com.






“dream team cast” in “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” Cherie Messore, buffalotheatreguide.com

Posted June 4, 2018

Ah, the things we do for love. We keep secrets. Maybe tell a fib or two. And perhaps we try to protect the object of our affection from hurting over something that can’t be undone.

Love, honor, and the subtleties of deception combine to form the delectable story of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” sumptuously staged by the Irish Classical Theatre Company.

Director Josephine Hogan had the dream team cast for this one.

The story begins as we meet Lady Windermere, elegantly played by Arianne Davidow. . She has two visitors in the afternoon of her “coming of age” birthday. First is Lord Darlington who Lady Windermere playfully chides for lavishing too much attention on her. “Compliments,” sighs Lord Darlington, “is the only thing we can pay,” he laments.  Still he admires so much about her, she is a good woman, in a world where there are so many bad ones. Lady Windermere, true to her Puritan values, wants nothing to do with such talk, or his veiled attempts at seduction. “I will have no one in my house about whom there is any scandal,” she declares. So when her next guest arrives – The Duchess of Berwick with her daughter Lady Agatha – Lady W can barely tolerate the thought that her dear husband is involved with a woman with a questionable past. And he’s giving her money! Whatever for?

She confronts her husband, who implores her to invite the mysterious Mrs. Erlynne to the evening’s birthday party. Lady W. will have none of it, so Lord W. invites this wayward guest himself. There’s a gasp when Mrs. Erlynne sweeps into the room, all clad in the brightest of red gowns, with the tallest hair ornament of them all, against a sea of more modestly-hued frocks.  She beguiles the men. And shocks the women.

What unfolds is the classic parlor comedy with a morality theme, sparked by plenty of discussion about right and wrong, marriage and human nature, good and bad. If you’re not charming, you’re tedious, and if you’re too good, you’re taken too seriously. The witty banter, the raised eyebrows, the shocking revelations are Wilde at his finest. So is the fluttering of Lady Windermere’s fan, with its pure white feathers, sparkling jewels, inscription just for the Lady. The fan – a gift, a metaphor, a symbol – has the most provocative silent role of all.

Director Josephine Hogan had the dream team cast for this one. Davidow, in demure pink and white with flowers in her hair, is the perfect young bride to Matt Witten’s stalwart but loving Lord Windermere. Ben Michael Moran is a charmer as the smitten Lord Darlington, and delivers the classic line – “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” with a sweet longing for the love he can’t share with Lady W. Kate LoConti is outstanding as the mysterious Mrs. Erlynne. She’s brazen, confident, and determined…and sentimental, caring, and devoted to what’s acceptable to the high-brow British uppercrust. LoConti’s expressions, her gestures, are slight, and convey every emotion and meaning. David Lundy is a trip as Parker the butler.  His entr’acte stage-lights-at-half ballet sequence is Artie-worthy. Christian Brandjes as the bumbling Lord Augustus Lorton and Chris Kelly as the sardonic Cecil Graham are great foils. Jon May’s Mr. Dumby delivers the prophetic punch at the party with “In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Wilde’s wisest words.

Running Time: 2 Hours, with a 10-minute intermission.



“‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ … delicious … excellent cast” – Ann Marie Cusella, buffalovibe.com

June 2, 2018

If you are in the market for a delightful evening of Wildean wit and wisdom, you will do no better than seeing Irish Classical Theatre Company’s current production of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. This subversive drawing room comedy, first performed in 1892, is timeless in its skewering of rigid moral codes and adherence to uncompromising societal rules that demand conformity, with banishment and ruin as punishment for those who dare to defy them. Irish Classical Theatre Company is always in top form in its productions of Wilde plays, and this one is no exception.

The young, innocent, beautiful Lady Windermere (Arianne Davidow) has received a fan for her birthday from her older husband (Matt Witten), who unfortunately refers to her as “child” several times. She lives by a very strict moral code, declaring herself unforgiving of human frailty, i.e., affairs outside of marriage. Nonetheless, she is pursued by the dashing Lord Darlington (Ben Michael Moran), who cannot help but love her, as rich idle young men have earnestly proclaimed throughout the ages. She is told by the Duchess of Berwick (Colleen Gaughan) that Lord Windermere has been seen many times in the company of an unknown-to-society woman, Mrs. Erlynne (Kate LoConti), and scandal must ensue unless Lady W. spirits Lord W. away for a time. Thus begins the dark night of the soul for the lovely Lady W. and an opportunity for Mr. Wilde to regale us with his seditious wit.

Kate LoConti steals the show as Mrs. Erlynne, although she is given a run for her money in smaller roles by Christian Brandjes as the dim-witted Lord Augustus Lorton with jowls that speak for themselves, and Chris Kelly as the mischievous Mr. Cecil Graham, who delivers some of Mr. Wilde’s juicier lines with a farcical, public school boy persona. Then there’s the dancing David Lundy as the butler, Parker, and Colleen Gaughan as the gossipy, witless Duchess of Berwick…

But, back to Ms. LoConti. Her line delivery is impeccable, and her emotions are palpable, yet understated, as she feels an unexpected deep love and must adjust her plans. She carries herself with grace throughout, and is stunning in her entrance, flaunting Victorian norms in a sparkling red dress that is just this side of being too revealing as she flirts her way around the room, mocking society while at the same time seducing almost every man present. Beautiful!

Ms. Davidow and Mr. Witten do well in their roles as the humorless couple. He is harried and worried throughout, running around trying to put out fires. She is so rigid and inflexible she is almost unappealing, belying her lovely demeanor, seeming like she might shatter into pieces at any moment, and then becoming more three-dimensional as her world changes.

The excellent cast is rounded out by Jon May, Emily Collins, Jaimee Harmon, Marilyn Mendelson, and Jamie O’Neill.

Directed by Josephine Hogan, at just under two hours, the production is lively without feeling rushed, and very well cast. She uses the theater in the round expertly, moving her actors around organically, rather than in a stilted someone-must-be-facing-the-audience-on-that-side mode, which happens all too often in lesser hands. The beautiful Victorian costumes are by Lise Harty, Set Design by Paul Bostaph, Lighting by Brian Cavanagh, Sound by Tom Makar, Hair and Make-up by Susan Drozd. All are experts, and their work here a fine example of their many talents.

The themes of rigid definitions of good and bad and polite society’s demands that all conform to its rules leave a sour taste, as the only way for the Windermeres to survive as a couple is to keep their secrets hidden, not just from society, but also from each other. Lady Windermere’s Fan has an underlying seriousness, but do not let that keep you from enjoying every delicious minute of it.


“ICTC lavishes considerable talents on ‘The Awful Truth'” – Peter Hall, Buffalo Rising

THE BASICS: THE AWFUL TRUTH, a 1922 comedy by Arthur Richman presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, starring Eric Rawski, Zak Ward, Diane Curley, Ellen Horst, Maura Nolan, Adriano Gatto, Marisa Caruso, and Chris Kelly runs through Mother’s Day, Sunday May 13, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 7:30, Sundays at 2 at the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main Street. Full service bar, some snacks. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com Runtime: two hours with one intermission.

THUMBNAIL SKETCH: Despite being very well compensated following her divorce, Lucy Warriner has lavish tastes and habits, and, now broke, has set her cap on multi-millionaire oil man Daniel Leeson. In her way is the oil man’s aunt who has heard a nasty rumor as to the grounds of that divorce. Now Lucy must convince all interested parties of her innocence.

THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION: At the Irish Classical Theatre, it’s either a real downer about powerless down and outers at the mercy of life, the system, and each other (MINDING FRANKIE and THE NIGHT ALIVE) or else it’s a “drawing room comedy” where rich people just treat each other badly. Of course, with the bright patina of the well off, all is forgiven. Pecunia non olet (“money does not stink”) as the saying goes. THE AWFUL TRUTH, a 1922 play by the relatively unknown Arthur Richman, is in the same vein as two other early 20th century plays this 2017-2018 season –  DESIGN FOR LIVING by Noel Coward and THE CONSTANT WIFE by W. Somerset Maugham. All three plays take place during The Jazz Age and the protagonist in each is a liberated women – sexually liberated, definitely, and in at least two of the plays, somewhat financially liberated as well.

The ICTC has billed 2017-2018 as a “season of comedy” but I would suggest that it’s more a season of plays in which the action is always initiated by a woman. In every one of the six plays at the ICTC, a woman has a problem; she goes about solving it; and the chips fall upon the just and the unjust.

In every one of the six plays at the ICTC, a woman has a problem; she goes about solving it; and the chips fall upon the just and the unjust.

The players in this first-rate production are, well, first rate, and you can attend with the assurance that everyone on stage will delight you in the way that we’ve come to expect from the ICTC when they’re in their “drawing room comedy” element. Diane Curley is beyond charming as Lucy Warriner, the divorcee with her eyes on the money of Daniel Leeson, the rugged Oklahoma oil man a bit out of his element in Manhattan, played effectively by Eric Rawski. And the rest of the cast fully delivers, including Ellen Horst as Daniel’s dour Aunt, Adriano Gatto as the suave former husband, Marisa Caruso as the perpetually confused maid, Celeste, and Chris Kelly as the ne’er do well, Rufus Kempster. But I would like to single out two minor roles which were acted with such insouciance by a pair both in their first appearance on the ICTC stage.  The performances by Zak Ward as the idle rich and none-too-bright character Eustace Trent who is married to the snappy “with it” Josephine Trent, played with high energy by Maura Nolan, stayed with me long after the curtain. (Note: Bring them back! We want more!)

The production elements were also flawless, starting with direction by Fortunato Pezzimenti, costumes by Bethany Kasperek (Vivian DelBello, Wardrobe Mistress), Hair and Make-up designed by Susan Drozd and a very convincing set by David Dwyer which included a baby grand piano (or maybe that should come under props, also very clever, by Emma English) and Sound Design by Tom Makar.

Is this a timeless classic, tinged with genius, by one of the great writers of all time? No. Actually, this play is like dinner theater. Really, really well-done dinner theatre, but Coward or Maugham or Wilde it ain’t. On the other hand, it’s fun and only two hours long, and don’t you deserve a laugh? Of course you do.

“nostalgia & new found glee” in discovery of script for “The Awful Truth,” Michael Rabice, BWW

April 24, 2018

Whatever your artistic quest may be, from unearthing gem stones or archeological ruins to discovering a lost manuscript of music, there is always an element of nostalgia and new found glee when the item arises. Stage director Fortunato Pezzimenti discovered Arthur Richman’s unpublished 1922 script THE AWFUL TRUTH in the New York Public Library for The Performing Arts in 2011. Only briefly produced on Broadway in 1935, the story has been told on 3 occasions on the silver screen.

While truly not a legitimate genre of theatre, the term “screwball comedy” took Hollywood by storm in the 1930’s with such hits as “Bringing Up Baby,” “His Girl Friday,” and “It Happened One Night,” to name but a few. Buffalo’s Irish Classical Theatre Company is serving up a charming trifle in its quick witted production of THE AWFUL TRUTH. Whiffs of perfume, a melancholy song played on the parlor piano and a drop dead gown are all it takes to make a man swoon and fall in love, while literally becoming weak in the knees and cross eyed. Similar drawing room comedies attributed to likes of Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde often are equally as frothy in their premises, but sight gags and melodrama push the likes of those plays into the screwball category.

Mr. Pezzimenti obviously loves this material and from curtain up sets the perfect tone.

Reminiscent of those early Hollywood opening credits, the French maid Celeste (Marisa Caruso) enters carrying elegant name cards for each character, as they strut center stage to introduce themselves with a winning grin, grimace, or skip. Picture moving figures inset in a cameo on the silver screen with swells of orchestral music and you get the clever idea.

A young divorcee, Lucy Warriner, is set to marry Texas oil magnate Daniel Leeson. But whether his overbearing Aunt will approve of the bride’s indiscretions forms the backbone of the story.

This reviewer is near always impressed by ICTC’s casting and this production is no exception. Diane Curley is a breath of fresh air as elegant and conniving Lucy. Her plan to convince her Aunt-to-be that she is as innocent as can be involves convincing her ex husband, Norman Satterly, to essentially testify on her behalf. But as the two meet again, their old love re-ignites, however problematic that may be.

Adriano Gatto is both charming and goofy as Norman, ala the film’s interpreter Cary Grant.  Gatto is dashing and up to the challenge of exasperation mixed with subtle physical comedy. Ms. Curley is perfectly coquettish when needed, but at all times in control of her mastermind plan.

Ellen Horst is genius as the dowager Mrs. Leeson. Her mere presence puts everyone on edge, and her disdain for all things improper makes her an early 20th Century Lady Bracknell. Ms. Horst lets roulades of contempt roll of her tongue with ease and charmed the audience with her haughtiness. Eric Rawski was aptly gawky and uncomfortable as the rich Texan who who is a fish out of water among the Country Club socialite crowd. His comfort with physical comedy is aided by his tall stature.

The secondary cast was all equally strong, from Lucy’s friends, Eustace and Josephine Trent, played with hilarity by Zak Ward and Maura Nolan. Chris Kelly has a memorable cameo as Rufus Kempster, Lucy’s supposed former lover. Kelly commands the stage with an over the top British accent that charms from the outset.

The lovely costumes by Bethany Kasperek were finely tailored and complemented by Set Designer David Dwyer’s posh settings. Mr. Pezzimenti happily moves the story along at a good clip, since the wispy thin plot could easily become tedious. Thankfully the cast acts with complete conviction and finds the right balance of tongue in cheek, wink at the audience naughtiness to keep everyone engaged. There are reasons these comedies have fallen out of favor and not been revived much, if ever, in this case. But the programming of a silly screwball comedy does seem to fit well into ICTC’s season of comedies.