Love, lust and lady-wrasslin’
Put Out: An Adulterated Farce
William J Geery Theater2130 L St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
It’s a little harder to get some funny on than you might think, which makes Put Out: An Adulterated Farce such a delight. Coming in a roughly 90 minutes, the original play by P. Joshua Laskey is also the debut of Sacramento’s newest stage company, Theater Galatea, Laskey’s collaboration with his wife—Jessica Goldman—who directs this piece.
Laskey was a member of the fondly-recalled Beyond the Proscenium Productions, where his original work was staged—including the thoughtful and funny Variations on Betrayal: An Allegory for Five Colorful Clowns, which re-imagined the life of Benedict Arnold as a corporate fable. Goldman has played numerous roles in both local community (Reefer Madness) and Equity (Sacramento Theatre Company) shows. They’re a very likely partnership in many ways.
And one of those ways is in their assemblage of the perfect cast for this delightfully bawdy comedy. To call Put Out a bedroom farce is limiting, since most of the falling down, noggin whacking, face-slapping and pepper spraying happens in places other than the boudoir. But it is physical comedy at its height, and casting local actresses Kelley Ogden (Maria) and Kellie Yvonne Raines (Constance) is nothing short of inspired. They’re joined by Blair Leatherwood (Agamemnon) and Laskey (Tom) for a small-cast romp through love, sex, isunderstandings and, frankly, some of the funniest lady wrasslin’ seen on the local stage.
Agamemnon is a workaholic who expects the same of Maria, his secretary; he only barely manages to leave work early to celebrate his wife’s birthday. But he discovers he’s been cuckolded; his wife, Constance, is sharing their bed with her colleague, Tom.
You really don’t need much more than that—the first five minutes of the play—to figure out how this is going to work. Laskey’s originality isn’t in the premise; it’s in the characterizations, which are more than ably brought to life by the cast, making this a laugh-very-out-loud sex farce. Leatherwood’s bumbling but lovable Agamemnon quickly drives his secretary to a near-murderous mood as he splays his neediness every which-way. Meanwhile, Laskey commingles weasel-y and wishy-washy in his wannabe-Lothario of an office playa (who is actually closer to a confused and overgrown eighth grader).
But it’s the chemistry between Raines and Ogden that really kicks things into high gear, and their confrontations—there are several—are comedy gold. These two can elicit more laughs with their eyebrows than most actors can with their entire bodies. Raines’ schtick includes a series of scenes in which she acts out her own indecision without saying a word, but with much flapping, thumb-sucking and other physical hilarity. Ogden calls to mind, in several scenes, the sort of physical portrayals of the fed-up and abused secretary one might have seen the great Carol Burnett perform—or at least, that’s what this critic overheard an audience member say.
With this auspicious beginning—and high hopes for more original work from the talented Laskey—we can only add a warm and giggly welcome to the new Theater Galatea. Sacramento definitely has room for this kind of fun.