Review: The Servant of Two Masters

The Servant of Two Masters; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-18. Art Court Theatre, City College; Through October 15.
Rated 5.0

There is just one word to describe City Theatre’s adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters, directed by Christine Nicholson: zany.

From the bizarre opening scene—which should be a surprise for everyone, but somehow just works—to the madcap chase scene through multiple doors across the 1987 Jersey Shore beach, this is a nonstop laugh fest.

While the plot is incidental to all the craziness, it centers around the fortunes and misfortunes of the servant Truffaldino, an opportunist who sees the possibilities of double dipping by hiring himself out to two masters at once, neither of whom knows of his employ with the other. As Truffaldino, who’s described in the script as “an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum wrapped up in … an idiot,” Bert Anderson could not be better cast. His energy is unstoppable, his timing impeccable and his energy exhausting. He is a real gem.

The mix up of characters, identities and plotlines is enough to make one’s head spin at times, even with the expositional asides from time to time.

This production relies heavily on local humor, barbs pointed at the current administration, visual comedy and a heavy dose of snake oil elixir fricandeau, the cure for everything from bunions to baldness. Those who like slapstick humor will love this hilarious farce.