Home Hotel guest Theater Critic: “Honestly, Now!” a fun, if convoluted, romp on the Riviera

Theater Critic: “Honestly, Now!” a fun, if convoluted, romp on the Riviera


Andy Mass as Hector and Andrea Myles-Hunkin as Carlita in “Honestly, Now!” Photo courtesy of Freeport Players

The Freeport players, now in their 33rd year, seem to like the type of mainline plays that involve all sorts of deceptions as to who really is who and what they’re really doing. Their past production of “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight,” for example, provided plenty of twists, not to mention a few jolts.

The company’s latest, a 1981 piece by Jack Sharkey, strikes a much lighter tone. But there were still surprises and laughs to be had on Sunday afternoon as a bunch of wacky characters, full of recognizable types from old movies and TV shows (with slightly dated attitudes to match), filled the stage at the Freeport Performing Arts Center.

“Honestly, now!” is, alas, somewhat crushed. The cast struggled a bit in the performance under consideration, especially at first. Compressing the extra dialogue needed to bring audiences to the show’s multiple subplots created a tricky challenge. But things fell into place after a while.

The play centers on Carlita and Hector, a grown-up mother and son team who work at the hangouts of the wealthy (in this case, a hotel on the French Riviera), hoping to steal jewelry and whatever. which is unrelated. They make an intriguing pair as they bicker, but reveal genuine affection for each other as the two-hour game progresses.

Andrea Myles-Hunkin and Andy Mass add color in these delightfully devious roles. Their characters’ well-delivered jibes and zingers (along with the occasional ad-libbing) added mightily to the fun.

The couple throw a party with the help of oblivious but not completely innocent waiter Raoul and banquet manager Nadine. The party, they hope, will keep other hotel guests away from their rooms which Hector, who is posing as a harmless simpleton, can then rob.

Jonas Werner delivered a solid performance as a calm, collected server who knows more about things than others think. And Hali Fortin, as Nadine, reveals her opportunistic nature as she slowly dips her toes into Carlita’s deepening plans.

Enter visiting U.S. Senator Sam Clayton and his wife Marigold who, presumably, will add star power to Carlita’s guest list. Peter Nicoll becomes a laughable (and corruptible) senator. Spunky Nancy Kenneally scathingly scolds the big guy while her Marigold tries to enjoy a getaway overseas.

Also in attendance are Oscar and Holly Hemmings, seemingly clueless from Nebraska, who won a trip to the Riviera on a game show. Talking hayseed first, Ian Smith then gets the chance to try out a cartoonish French accent as the action picks up.

Director David Crowell broadcasts the three-act play on the vast stage set designed by David Wallace and Janet Lawrence. Judy Lloyd and Crowell’s costumes spice up the party scene and generally confirm the impression that this entertaining production is a labor of love for all.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer living in Portland.

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