Everybody wants to save money on their taxes. And when you room with your best friend post college and his first name happens to be an ambiguous unisex name the logical thing to do is to change his gender to female, claim that you’re married and file together. Right? Right or wrong Love, Sex, and the I.R.$. will take you on a wild ride of twists and turns as the Bowie Community Theater presents this riotous farce for your summertime enjoyment.
We start with the fraudulently married couple, of which only one half knows that they’re fraudulently married and lying to the IRS; add in an affair with one of said couple’s fiancée, stir in an unexpected visit from the IRS man, and carefully fold in one unexpected visit from an irate mother. Sprinkle the top with the sleazy nosy landlord and you have a recipe for disastrous hilarity. This is a gut-busting comedy that you won’t want to miss if you can help it.
Director Terry Averill manages a good cast of players despite two small missteps in his casting. Casting the character of Mr. Jansen as a Ms. Jansen (Sarah Curtis) detracts from the zany hilarity of the otherwise sleazy, chauvinistic womanizing landlord. Curtis, while doing her best to embody the nosy aspects of the character is unable to really deliver those unctuous untoward comments that are laced here and there throughout the character’s text. Averill’s other mistake falls in the character of Kate (Shenna Ross). Ross needed more coaching; her lines no matter who she was speaking to sounded forced, like she was reading them from a script. Her performance lacked emotional delivery and variation.
Despite these two character choices the play is a whacky fun ride that carries itself well on the shoulders of the other actors. The show relies heavily on the situational comedies that keep occurring and manages to pull off the many laughs that happen throughout the production, keeping the audience engaged and entertained.
Everyone’s a crazy character in this show and Jon (Pat Reynolds) is no exception. He manages to maintain his cool and spastically explode over the chaos that layers itself exponentially into his life over the lie he told all at the same time. It’s more than amusing to watch Reynolds go from perfectly in control of the situation to spiraled out of orbit in just a momentary pause. When he gets caught up in moments of extreme anger or panic his vocal expressions are matched fully with huge facial ones and he brings a raving lunatic to life on the stage.
His mother Vivian (Joanne Bauer) is the epitome of the kvetching old mother who has nothing positive to say and everything to fuss over. Bauer adapts a heinous nasally voice that takes her obnoxiousness to a level of riotous enjoyment. She embodies the spitting image of a drunk when flailing about the apartment after making a few unknown discoveries and delivers strong effective one lines that keeps the audience rolling in the aisles.
Floyd Spinner (Greg Garcia) gives us every man’s worst nightmare when it comes to the IRS. He’s self-important, gravely serious, and loaded with powerful lines that bring laugh after laugh to the audience. Garcia gives everyone a run for their money, zooming into the chaos with an uncanny passion. His chase scenes with Ross as Kate are hysterical as he tries to throw himself at her, and when he succumbs to the scotch it’s a comic explosion on the stage.
The show is glued together by the phenomenal performance given by Marc Pardee who starts out as Leslie Arthur, male roommate to Jon, but quickly becomes Leslie Arthur, female wife to Jon. Pardee makes great awkward moments on stage that really keep the audience in stitches, especially when his “sinus attacks” cause him to have spastic episodes of being mute. Pardee struts awkwardly in heels as a phony woman and gives us perfect comic timing with the bodily and facial responses to add extra zings of funny all throughout the show. A thoroughly enjoyable comic performance from Pardee brings this show to near perfection.
Running Time: Two hours with one intermission
Love, Sex, and the I.R.$. plays through July 28, 2012 at The Bowie Playhouse located in White Marsh Park on Rte. 3 South, in Bowie, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 805-0219 or purchase them online.