Two Into One Who The Central New York Playhouse Where 3649 Erie Blvd. E, Shoppingtown Mall, Syracuse When Through Jan. 26 Tickets $20; Thursday & Sunday, $15 Review by Josh Austin
For many reasons, it’s rather intriguing to find a politician with his pants down. This representative, naturally, is the uptight, vehemently against pornography type who most likely—no, scratch that—definitely would have voted for the likes of Prop 8. He would speak out for the sympathies of the blue collar man—that is, simplicity and a strong family. Needless to say, somewhere on his phone is a picture of his, you know, that he sent to some secretary mistress. Luckily, in Two Into One, Ray Cooney’s 1980s sex farce, cell phones weren’t a thing, and the action takes place across the pond.
It’s an incredibly simple premise: a politician just wants to have sex, but not with his wife. No matter how sticky the situation gets, parliament member Richard Willey (David Vikers) doesn’t doubt his assistant’s ability to help him get some action. Like any good farce, and especially true of Cooney, it’s the little details that add up to the silly, boisterous climax, where one slip of the name, Christmas instead of Easter, for instance, ruins the mood for everyone; when all of the sudden the politician’s wife, Pamela (Kasey Marie McHale), wants to sleep with the assistant. It doesn’t come as a big shock then, when no one really gets lucky.
Almost every line is steeped in innuendo, so much so that when Pamela orders a bottle of vintage champagne, she is asked if the year '69 is appropriate. She responds, “That’s the idea.”
Directed and designed by Dustin Czarny, this quaint hotel becomes a frenzy of slamming doors, half-naked people and turbulent coincidences and mix-ups. The show, which runs just over two hours, speeds by with a ferocious pace, ushered nicely from the outstanding cast, with charming British accents to boot. The accent, when listened to very closely, has the sound of an "r" occasionally at the end of a word.
Played to a comic-T, Justin Polly, portraying George Pigdon (Willey’s not-too-cunning helper), has the unenviable task of setting up the affair at the Sussex Westminster Hotel. With a Peter Parker/Clark Kent nerdy charm, Polly commands the show as the overtaxed, definitely underpaid—and oddly loyal—assistant. Vikers creates the ideal, falsely moral politician. Like a spoiled child, he doesn’t quite like when things don’t go as planned. McHale presents a virtuous sexpot, teeming with the need to cheat on her husband; after all they have been married ten years.
Take the leads and combine them with other principals, like the blonde-bombshell, yet another adulterer, Jennifer (Jennie Russo), her naïve husband Edward (Gerrit Vander Werff Jr.) and the gossip extraordinaire Lily Chatterton (Jenn DeCook), and the show has the perfect cast for an embarrassing afternoon. Even the ensemble holds its own, especially the waiter, played by Michael Fernandez. Although hitting up the stereotypes, Fernandez delivers a rather funny, crafty fly on the wall.
This play of infidelity and seedy trysts ends right at the height of yet another problem. And, somehow, it works. It’s exhaustive watching this group try to figure themselves out. Hopefully by the end of the day, sex was the furthest thing on their mind. Although, it probably wasn’t too far off.