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How the Other Half Loves
Frank's wife Fiona (Cecilia Hart) and another of his employees, Bob Phillips (Darren Pettie), are having a fling. When Bob's wife, Teresa (Geneva Carr) presses him about his late-night absences, he concocts a story about consoling fellow worker William Featherstone (Carson Elrod) who suspects his wife Mary (Karen Walsh) is being unfaithful.
Teresa remembers meeting the Featherstones at a company party and is intrigued with the thought that the rather dull, nail-biting, limp handshaking Mary could be unfaithful, never mind attract a lover, so she invites the couple over to dinner. Meanwhile, prompted by Bob's cover story, Fiona offers a similar version to Frank to account for her late-night absence on her forgotten wedding anniversary. Frank, who has invited the Featherstones to dinner as a precursor to offering William a promotion, sees an opportunity to offer some sage advice to the "troubled" young couple.
The play is presented on one set (James Noone, design) divided into both couple's homes (two sections of the couch match a columned classic decor for the Fosters while the shabbier Phillips' walls showcase crayon drawings by their oft unsupervised (and never seen) son, Ben.) The dialogue between the couples, guided by a deft Tillinger, takes place simultaneously so that the audience gets a true view of how the other half lives as well as loves. To plan for the dinner parties, scheduled on different nights, upscale Fiona sets the elegant dining room table with crystal and plans a gourmet menu while terrible cook Teresa follows her around contributing paper napkins and a burned entrée that tastes like chemicals.
Mayhem ensues as the innocent Featherstones find themselves in the middle of something they don't understand with the "help" from the others, their marriage is almost destroyed. Misunderstandings (delicious both in the writing and in the execution — the Featherstones swivel in their chairs in perfect timing between conversations at the separate dinner parties), a brawl and William's ending up on the receiving end of some urine at both parties lend to the laughs.
Carr, Elrod, Hart and Whitehead all worked with Tillinger on previous Ayckbourns at Westport, no doubt contributing to the polished presentation. Whitehead steals the show, however, with his command of farce.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
In the Heights
Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide