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Jewel Box polishes farce in 'Lend Me a Tenor'



For Italian tenor Tito Merelli, Cleveland is just another bump in the road on his 1934 world tour starring in Verdi's "Otello." Little does he know that before 24 hours is up, he will have been deserted by his wife, impersonated by an assistant, chased by the police and declared dead.

And that doesn't begin to cover all the action.

"Lend Me a Tenor" is as close as America comes to a genuine madcap French comedy, complete with multiple doors leading into hotel suites, closets and bathrooms, all of which are critical to the hide-and-seek action incited by the temperamental, prone-to-drink Tito.

Director Charles Tweed has a terrific cast to pull off this romp. The split-second timing seems to come off effortlessly, as simultaneous entrances and near-misses come in nonstop waves.

Talented Scott Hynes is perfect as the shy assistant catapulted into the limelight, while Ben Hall finds every ounce of hilarity in his role.

Richard Lemin utilizes his physicality and incredible stage presence to become every inch the hotheaded Italian star. Aaron Chartier is charming as the bellboy who sings his way through every entrance.

Alex Hall is cute and lovable, and Helen Hoepfner and Jane Hall are both comically hilarious. They've all met their match in Tito's wife, however, played to sultry perfection by Jennifer Teel.

Charlotte Rose's Thirties costumes were spot-on, and the matching "Otello" costumes, the cause of so much commotion, were hilarious.

It's almost impossible not to get caught up in the laughter. Highly recommended.

"?Linda McDonald


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