Saturday afternoon we made a worthwhile drive to Waterdown to see a delightful 90 minute play (no intermission) called “Underpants”. Steve Martin adapted the story from a book called “Die Hose” – a 1910 German farce written by Carl Sternheim. Martin’s play was first produced Off-Broadway at Classic Stage Company in 2002. I always think of Martin as a comedian, however his resume tells us much more: actor, musician (pianist & banjo player) author, playwright & producer. A recent father, he obviously keeps himself busy!
The stage had beautiful props and so are the costumes. The cast were very well-rehearsed and for the most part there were very few slip-ups.
The story takes place in Dusseldorf, 1910. Theo (Scott Bloxon) and Louise (Andrea Adcock) are married one year in keeping with the custom of the period, he was a very controlling husband; dinner, laundry and all household chores had to be done on-time and to his expectations. At the beginning of the play Louise is most agitated as the two of them have been to parade in honour of the King. Unfortunately her underpants slipped down & landed around her ankles. She was devastated, embarrassed and naturally concerned about the repercussions. Her husband was sure he would be fired from his modest-paying job and they would become homeless. They rent out a room in their home for $12.00 monthly (coffee extra) to increase their income. Gertrude (Stacy Milford) Louise’s good friend & confidante, lives in the apartment above and thus could always hear what was going on downstairs. A more progressive person, she comes up with many supportive ideas for her friend to achieve a better and happier life.
Theo leaves for work and a man came to the door supposedly because he saw the ‘For Rent’ sign but he really had seen her drawers drop and falls in love. Louise feels some stirrings and agrees to rent him the room. Theo returns with a young man who also wants the room & he already promised it to him. His name is Cohen, however, Germany in the early 1900’s was anti-Semitic (albeit not as rabid as in the dirty thirties!), so he tells Theo it is spelt with a “K”. The deal was made the two men would share the room with a dividing board between them. Both covet Louise.
The first applicant is Adam Harrison whose Versati character is an arrogant poet who woos Louise with verse. Cohen is a barber by trade and one of his clients is Versati. It then becomes a contest to win Louise. Harrison’s portrayal is rife with haughtiness and all the mannerisms of snobbery & upper-class hauteur. Thus his comedic moments are all the funnier. The hypochondriac Cohen (Koen) possesses some of the more laughable double éntendres but it’s Versati who gets to voice “In a world of jam, you are a marmalade”…what a line for a pick-up bar!
Adcock has enough innate talent to be able to carry off a mini-metamorphosis from staid to adventurous and handles the [almost] seduction scene with poise. She is so credible as to BE what she’s portraying. Milford steals the show with her facial mobility; gleaming asides and those underlining eye expressions. She manages to bring the audience in on the joke! Scott Bloxom’s “Theo” has just the right amount of attitude to carry off the superiority at home that males enjoyed until we ladies obtained the vote!
The ninety minutes of the play fly by with quick plot & interesting characters. Presented by Village Theatre, Waterdown until March 2nd– 905-690-7889