Take a servant who is impersonating a miserly rich uncle. Add three characters dressed up as a pig-faced woman. Then throw in an EXTREMELY short lawyer and you have some of the plot of “The Heir Apparent” which recently opened at Classic Stage Company.
The show, which takes place on a French estate 1708, is told in verse which has been modernized. (Some swear words are thrown in to good effect.) I was underwhelmed at CSC’s modernization of “Romeo and Juliet” this season, but in this show it works. In a nutshell – a young man is hoping for his uncle’s inheritance so he can marry his amour. The uncle always seems to be on the verge of dying (in no small measure because of his servant).The young man, aided by his own servant, goes to great lengths to get his hands on the gold. And let’s not forget about the avaricious would-be mother-in-law. Delicious ridiculousness and thoroughly entertaining.
The six actors are uniformly excellent and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, which added to the audience’s appreciation. A farce can sometimes become overwhelmingly madcap, with characters running in and out of doors and too many knowing asides. This play seemed to strike the right balance.
David Ives, who brought theatergoers Venus in Fur and The School for Lies at CSC, returns to the theater company with this adaptation. He is joined by John Rando as director. The playbill notes that they collaborate frequently, and with this show as an example, I hope that collaboration continues. AFW
The Heir Apparent, CSC 136 East 13 Street, through 5/4
Ticket prices — $65 – $125
Limited number $20 Access Friday tickets available – signup through classicstage.org or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
Tuesday Talkbacks free to ticket holders: April 15, 22 & 29, 2014