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Center Stage: ”Til Theft Do Us Part’ hits all the right comic highlights

By MARSHA WAGNER - | Feb 9, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Marsha Wagner

The Off Broadway Palm Theatre recently presented “‘Til Theft Do Us Part,” a delightful giggle gift and comic farce written by one of the Broadway Palm’s favorite comic performers, Victor Legarreta. Legarreta, being a guy of many talents, also directed this comic caper.

The brand-new comedy is a tale about a middle-aged married fella named Winston Johnson who gets fired, but his job loss is such a big deal for him that he just cannot tell his wife, Anna. Now what? Well, in order to pay expenses our desperate fella resorts to stealing stuff from other people’s homes. That is, until his conscience kicks in and he resolves to return all the stolen loot to the homes he burgled. This merry mix up takes place in England, so the one-piece set is decorated in chintzy English country style, with lots of flowered patterns and the perfect number of doors to bang open and closed to punctuate sentences, as well as actions coming and going — so absolutely perfect for an English drawing room comedy. Dominic Lau was “spot on” in designing this set.

Legarreta’s direction expertly kept the comic actions and actors moving at rapid pace, so crucial to Brit wit. The “magnificent seven” performers are another group of Broadway Palm audience favorites, whom I shall list in order of appearance: Rachael Endrizzi as Anna Johnson; Andrew Scoggin as Lance Stockton; Ken Quiricone as Winston Johnson; Dianne Stone Fussaro as Elvina Trumbley; Kelly Legarreta as Iris “Sly Fox” Fox MacDonald; Michael Weaver as Giles Witherford; and Paul Bernier as Cedric Humphreys. (Bernier stepped out of his usual role as director and played a comical character, showing the audience what a talented, funny man he can be when turned loose in an acting role.)

Legarreta hit all the right comic highlights that make English farces such a laugh riot. There was the required amount of mistaken identities. (Legarreta played a female investigative detective disguised as a male, including a twitching handle bar mustache and bowler hat.) The use of slamming doors acted as punctuations to scenes and sentences — all an important part of Brit wit — along with machine gun fast dialogue that kept your “ears perked up” and the laughs coming fast and furious.

In other words, if British farce comedy is your “cup of tea,” then get ready to scurry over to the telephone and dial the box office at 239-278-4422 likkety split and make your reservations for “‘Til Theft Do Us Part,” which exists the stage on March 6. Remember to tell ’em when you phone that Marsha sent you!