Politics Make Strange Bedfellows
By Dan and Alison Tingley
All An Act Theatre Productions is currently presenting The Sensuous Senator, written by Michael Parker. Parker also wrote Sex Please We’re Sixty, Hotbed Hotel, and the Amorous Ambassador among other plays. Larry Lewis directs this political farce.
The story opens with Senator Harry Douglas, running on a platform of morality and family values (you already see where this is going, don’t you?), announcing his bid for the presidency and also that his wife, Lois, will be going to Chicago that night to open a new center for unwed mothers. At the press conference, Betty Morrison, a reporter for the National Intruder, accuses Douglas of being a womanizer. Douglas, supported by Lois, his longtime friend Congressman Clyde Salt, and his nephew Congressman Jack Maguire, is outraged by the accusation, and Morrison is escorted from the press conference by a policeman. Back at the Senator’s town house, the small group gathers to discuss strategy. Lois leaves for the airport and Maguire and Salt head for home, leaving Douglas to call his secretary, Veronica, for a weekend romp. However, Veronica is busy, so he calls an escort agency. Of course, Salt has locked himself out of his home next door and comes back to spend the night. Then Maguire comes back. Then Fiona (from the agency) and Veronica show up. Of course, Morrison is snooping about and the overzealous policeman keeps showing up. You probably already imagine people hiding all over the house.
The cast includes Chris Bucci (Maguire), Bob Dombrowski (Salt), Victor Kuehn (Douglas), Betsy Butoryak (Lois), Ruth Scandale (Morrison), Frederick Williams (Policeman), Jessica LaFlamme (Fiona), Carol Chapman (Veronica), and Kirsten McCain (Mary Richmond – another reporter). That’s technically not a paragraph, because it’s only one sentence. Oh, wait! Now it is. Yay. Moving on.
While a bit predictable, as most of these shows are, it is still very funny and has a surprise ending. The cast does a great job of keeping the action moving. Kuehn masterfully portrays a convincingly duplicitous politician. He’s in control of the situation until he isn’t in control of the situation, and then oh, boy! Watching him smooth-talk his way out of trouble is a hoot. Bucci is hilarious. His talent shines as he uses physical comedy as well as perfectly delivered lines with impeccable timing. Dombrowski depicts a confused, old-school politician and mentor with ease. This was a very good role for him. LaFlamme confidently plays her physically demanding role. Her timing and delivery are superb. Chapman shows a lot of potential, playing her part very well. Her role is also rather physically demanding, and she does some great physical comedy. Scandale takes a small part and makes it her own. She really brings out her character. Williams, with a minor role, does a good job of being a sporadic nuisance (we mean this in a good way!). Butoryak plays the perfect political wife. She does a great job at being a supportive wife and also at remaining oblivious to what would be obvious to anyone else. McCain only has a couple of lines, but delivers them well.
The costumes are appropriate, funny, sexy, and ridiculous – not all at the same time. The detailed set works very well.
The Sensuous Senator runs on weekends through May 19. The show is very well directed, well done and well worth seeing. There are a lot of laughs in this action-packed farce. One dollar of every admission goes to benefit the Community Shelter Service and Erie’s homeless. Visit the website at www.allanact.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.