THE LADIES MAN
INDIANA REP | GEVA THEATRE
It's time to take off your Hat of Plausibility and just sit, watch, and enjoy the show.
The French farce, The Ladies Man, by George Feydeau, adapted by Charles Morey, is playing now at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. This lighthearted, frantic comedy is full of double entendres, misunderstandings, lots of running around, terrible accents (purposely terrible), and lots of sex jokes. With enough misunderstandings to confuse us and keep us guessing, the titular Ladies Man is Dr. Hercule Molineaux (Max Robinson), who has spent the night sleeping on a park bench after partying the evening away at The Moulin Rouge while trying to meet up with a potential mistress (Jennifer Johansen) but instead running into her husband and getting thrown into the street. Hercule's wife (Kelly Mares) discovers her husband has not come home and is lividly demanding some answers. He cleverly and incredibly sooths his wife's suspicions and sets himself up for more problems later, which is, of course, what drives all the craziness later.
With some funny, odd characters and stock humorous characteristics, there are plenty of laughs throughout. The second act is indeed a marvel in choreography and timing, with the action of a Keystone Cops film, the fun sexuality of the English Carry On series, the energy of a Benny Hill short, and the confusion of a Three's Company episode.
There are a couple moments that will stick with you, and the characters of the Gentleman's Gentlemen Ettienne (Michael Keyloun), the "patient" Bassinet (John Guerrasio) hamming it up to the audience, and the Prussian soldier Gustav Aubin (Mark Mineart) and his odd German syntax and pronunciations and mix of English and German vocabulary will keep you cracking up.
The hilarious mistranslated posturing by Prussian soldier Gustav Aubin, (standout Mark Mineart) who is intimidating and hysterical at the same time, carries the play with him into Act II. And man, Act II is gold.
Finally, there's the husband, GUSTAV!!!! Aubin (Mark Mineart) who mugs and commands the stage whenever he's on. He's a German/Prussian officer in a role that is utterly different from the monsters he plays on popular shows like Law and Order. He's downright funny.
"The Prussian Soldier, played by Mark Mineart, is enormous, both in size and sense of humor. Using his own phrasing, he is the “scene stealing” with his thick accent."
Democrat & Chronicle
And then, there’s Gustav, the trollop's very jealous Prussian soldier husband played by thick-accented, enormously funny Mark Mineart.
Indy Theatre Habit
Last Sunday evening, my friend Adrienne and I met at the Indiana Repertory Theatre to see The Ladies’ Man, a farce written by Georges Feydeau as Taillieur Pour Dames in 1886 and recently freely adapted by Charles Morey for American audiences.
At the end, Adrienne pronounced the show “delightful.” I had a similar verdict: “frothy and fun.”
Watching this show is like watching the intricate inner workings of an expensive pocket watch or an elaborate mousetrap. It is fascinating because it is perfectly balanced and timed, with many layers of cause-and-effect. It is funny, I think, because it involves, after all, human beings, who are not, actually, machines but rather a bit messy and unpredictable.
First of all are the actors, who make the zany clockwork of the show look easy:
Max Robinson plays poor, tittering, increasingly frazzled Dr. Hercule Molineaux. His long-suffering and secretly randy manservant is played by Michael Keyloun. His medical patient and mischievous would-be mistress, the can-can dancer Suzanne Aubin, is played by Jennifer Johansen.
Hercule’s ditsy, wholesome, young wife, Yvonne Molineaux, is played by Kelly Mares. Her intimidating and universally scathing mother, Madame Aigreville, aka “Medusa,” is played by Nance Williamson.
Suzanne’s equally intimidating and very jealous, sputtering, English-mangling husband, the Prussian officer Gustav Aubin, is played by Mark Mineart. The Molineaux’ pragmatic yet saucy maid, Marie, is played by Morgan Hallett.