From left, Barbara Anthony, Toby Manion, Jonathan Cho, Jonelle Meyer, Tracy Borgatti, Brent Ballard and Robin New star in Early Bird Dinner Theatre’s production of “There’s a Burglar in My Bed.”
The players at Early Bird Dinner Theatre present a perfect production showcasing the imperfect ploys of two manipulative adulterers in Michael Parker’s “There’s a Burglar in My Bed,” running through Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Italian-American Club, 200 S. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater.
Seating for performances Thursday through Sunday is 4 p.m. Seating for matinees Thursday and Saturday is 11 a.m. Cost for buffet and show is $29.90 plus tax. For reservations, call 446-5898.
Parker, born and raised in England, spent much of his childhood acting in professional theater companies before spending five years in military service and another 10 years running his own business. Retiring early and relocating to the Caribbean, Parker returned to theater and soon took on a challenge: He wanted to write a play integrating all the conventions of the British farce using a distinctly American setting.
His first creation, “The Sensuous Senator,” was produced in 1988 – and a string of American farces has ensued, including “There’s a Burglar in My Bed.”
In the play, William W. Worthington III and his wife Ashley, wealthy New England socialites, are each having an affair. Both the cheating husband and the cheating wife are contemplating divorce – particularly the prenuptial agreement. One item is coveted by both William and Ashley: the Worthington necklace, worth millions.
Plots are hatched by both husband and wife – each conspirator involving their lover and other innocent (and not-so-innocent) bystanders.
Directed by Robin New, “There’s a Burglar in My Bed” highlights the best qualities of Early Bird’s troupe. New and her cohorts know how to stoke each scene, accentuate the innuendoes, emphasize the absurdity of their respective character’s faulty logic and ignite infectious laugher amongst appreciative audience members.
Veteran Barbara Anthony portrays Ashley Worthington, imbuing the character with ample determination without making her seem infallible. Toby Manion – another familiar face at Early Bird – takes on the role of William W.
Worthington III, painting him as part stingy aristocrat and part sex-starved paramour.
Brent Ballard returns to the Early Bird stage, playing obedient Edward P.
Brookstone. There may be a smidgen of John Cleese’s Basil Fawlty in his depiction of Ashley’s conniving – yet, ultimately compliant – lover. As Lorraine “Buffy” DuVal, Tracy Borgatti, last seen in Early Bird’s production of “Squabbles,” does a great job of progressively revealing her character’s duplicity.
Nearly stealing the show is Jonathan Cho, playing the Clouseau-esque role of private investigator William Davis. His slapstick antics and straight-man delivery give this production an extra dimension of comedy.
Rounding out the cast, Jonelle Meyer and Robin New play near opposites:
Meyer plays Deborah DuVal, the obliging, generous sister of Buffy. New, on the other hand, plays Marianne Van Kleeff, a longtime friend of Ashley Worthington known for her promiscuity. New realizes the character wonderfully, exploiting its wicked immodesty to the delight of the audience.
“There’s a Burglar in My Bed” proves once again that Michael Parker and Early Bird Dinner Theatre make a perfect combination.