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'Flea' is a riotous ride

December 01, 2004

Dink O'Neal

With such a riotously funny roller coaster of a show on their hands,

A Noise Within's producers really should offer a seat belt with every

ticket to Georges Feydeau's "A Flea In Her Ear."

A superb cast of 15, under the expert co-direction of Geoff

Elliott and Julia Rodriguez Elliott, mines comic gold as it whisks us

along on a breakneck ride.

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Like any good farce, this tale of a wife's suspicious mind sets

the wheels in motion. Before long, chaos reigns supreme as mistaken

identities and door-slamming fun accelerate the story line.

As Yvonne Chandel, the plotting wife, Dorthea Harahan is a perky

confection. Her friend, Lucienne, smartly portrayed by Jill Hill,

aids in penning an anonymous letter requesting a rendezvous with

Yvonne's husband.

Stephen Weingartner, a master of instantaneous costume changes,

plays both the loyal yet unsuspecting spouse, Victor, as well as a

bumbling hotel porter whose twin-like resemblance adds further

clowning to the proceedings.

Perfectly delivered supporting roles include Mark Bramhall's

stylish doctor, William Dennis Hunt in the near cameo role of a

decrepitly rheumatic hotel guest and Michael Manuel as the wickedly

sadistic owner of the inn.

One could say Richard Soto's gangster-like take on the part of

Lucienne's jealous Spaniard of a husband is the peak of perfection

with his hot-blooded rants and threats. But for scene-stealing

pleasure, look no further than Louis Lotorto's fall down funny

embodiment of Victor's cousin/secretary, Camille, scripted as having

a cleft palate.

With only three performances left in this must-see show's extended

run, tickets for this runaway voyage will be going fast.

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