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'Key for Two': Just When You Think It Can't Get Any Funnier, Then It Does!

Erin P. Doherty Linkow
By Erin P. Doherty Linkow
Posted on Mar 07,2017
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,
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Photo by Keith Waters for Kx Photograhy
Elizabeth Replogle (Magda) and Charlene Sloan (Harriet) 

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - To set the mood prior to showtime, a track of 1980s music, including Billy Joel's and Barbara Streisand’s plays and curtain is open, revealing Harriet's (Charlene Sloan's) Regency flat in England. The multi-colored flat is where Harriet, a divorcee who needs help paying the bills, plays mistress to two men, Peter Harrold (Gordon) and Cal Whitehurst (Alex).Travis Downing’s set includes not only a bedroom and a living room, but also Charles Dragonette’s choices of gold metallic wall art.

Dave Freeman’s and John Chapman’s writing, coupled with EleanoreTapscott directing, leads to a very funny production of Key for Two. The show also features Dana Gattuso (Anne) as Harriet's childhood friend who has left her husband, Richard (Justin Latus) and is paying a surprise visit.

Harriet schedules her married lovers’--Gordon’s and Alex’s--visits so that they are like ships passing in the night. That is, until both deviate from her schedule and arrived at her flat on the same day. Gordon’s wife, Magda (Elizabeth Replogle) and later Alec’s wife, Mildred (Liz LeBoo) are right on their heels. Harriet’s tangled web of deception continues to devolve when Anne and, eventually, her drunken husband Richard, arrive. Mistaken identities and further falsehoods hilariously follow.

Both acts are set in Harriet’s apartment, with the second act becoming even funnier than the first when Harriet tries to pass off her flat as a hospital where Anne pretends to be a nurse.

The costumes (Julia Cofrancesco’s) hint at ‘80s styles without being distracting, so there were neither legwarmers nor neon sweatshirts. For example, Harriet’s red shoulder-padded dress and feathered hairstyle were retro without going over the top, as were the slightly wider ties than men wear today. Such subtle nods to the '80s allowed the witty repartee and classic dry British sense of humor to shine through without distraction.

Tapscott’s love and aptitude for directing British farces shows in the actor’s comedic timing, especially during the second half. For example, Dana Gattuso supports Harriet’s charade by vacillating between the characters of Anne and of a hospital nurse when the wives come by. Meanwhile, LeBoo’s skeptical “straight man” version of Mildred provides perfect contrast to Harriet and her charades.

The show features Harrold’s Gordon as a British advertising executive, Whitehurst’s Alex as a fisherman, and Latus’s Richard as Ann's intoxicated and estranged veterinarian husband. A big element of the show's success is that the actors go right to the edge of hilarity but stop short of going over the top.

This subtlety, thanks to a dialect coach (Cheryl Sinsabaugh), continues with everyone's British accents, and especially with Anne’s New Zealand accent, which shows further nuances.

Enjoy "Key for Two" before the Little Theatre of Alexandria's performances end on March 18, 2017. The theater is at 600 Wolfe Street, in Alexandria, VA. For tickets, either call (703) 683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheatre.org.


Photo by Keith Waters for Kx Photograhy
Dana Gattuso (Anne),Elizabeth Replogle (Magda) and Charlene Sloan (Harriet)

Photo by Keith Waters for Kx Photograhy
Cal Whitehurst (Alex) and Charlene Sloan (Harriet)

Photo by Keith Waters for Kx Photograhy
Liz LeBoo (Mildred), Charlene Sloan (Harriet), Dana Gattuso (Anne) and Cal Whitehurst (Alex)





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