'Cooks' farce promises to be a witty dish
By Cynthia Bombach Helzel
Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 7:49 p.m.
The recipe for a theatrical farce might be compared to that of a good soup: Take a handful of over-the-top characters, throw them into hot water, and mix well. That concoction yields delicious results in “Too Many Cooks,” a new farce making its regional debut this weekend through July 6 at St. Vincent Summer Theatre.
Congenial restaurateur Irving Bubbalowe and his daughter, Honey, are preparing to open their new French restaurant, Chateau Bubbalowe, in Prohibition-era Niagara Falls. They have hired famous French chef Francois LaPlouffe as their star attraction.
Meanwhile, bootleggers have been secretly using the restaurant's basement to stash smuggled booze. On the night Chateau Bubbalowe is to open, the chef disappears, gangsters come looking for their booze, an immigration officer comes looking for the chef, and a Canadian Mountie comes looking for the gangsters. In true farcical fashion, a series of misunderstandings and mistaken identities add up to a hilarious recipe for chaos.
“I found myself laughing out loud the first time I read the script,” says director Colleen Reilly. “I knew we could do a good job with it.”
The show is humorous on many levels, says Michael Fuller, who plays Canadian Mountie Hamilton Effing. “There's so much physical comedy and so many fast-paced bits, but there's also witty dialogue and clever lines.”
The characters' personality foibles add yet another level of comedy. Effing is “very strait-laced, kind of like a Dudley Do-Right character,” Fuller says. “He's a bumbling inspector.”
It was the bumbling side of his character that drew Fuller, who has more than a decade of experience on the St. Vincent stage, to the role. “He thinks he's so on the ball and so smart, but he's not that at all,” Fuller says.
Effing has come to the restaurant to track down mob boss Alfonse “Noodles” Feghetti, played by David Cabot. Like his nemesis, Feghetti “is not as smart as he thinks he is,” Cabot says.
Nevertheless, Feghetti's arrival at the restaurant sparks fear in the hearts of the other characters. “He sets off a firestorm of people pretending to be other people so Alfonse doesn't rub them out,” Cabot says. “It moves at breakneck speed. Once it starts, it's like a train barreling down the tracks.”
St. Vincent newcomers Bob Turano and Abby Quatro play restaurant owner Bubbalowe and Honey, while Luke Halferty makes his debut as mob thug Shirley. Rounding out the cast are Karen Baum as immigration officer Veronica Snook, Kevin Daniel O'Leary as unemployed cook Frank Plunkett and Alex Walton as delivery man Mickey McCall.
This year for the first time, St. Vincent Summer Theatre will offer free admission to U.S. military veterans and active-duty personnel during the week of July 4 as long as seats are available.
“It's our way of saying thank you to the men and women who enable us to do what we do here and to do it freely,” says Colleen Reilly. Seats must be reserved in advance; call the box office for more information.
Cynthia Bombach Helzel is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- McCandless man pleads guilty to being in ‘boring’ drug ring
- 3 accomplices to plead guilty to murder, torture of mentally challenged Mt. Pleasant woman
- Mt. Washington pharmacist, Baldwin Townshp man sentenced for oxycodone scam
- Pirates’ Snider talks about surgery, rebuilding swing
- Starkey: Tomlin imposter fuels conspiracy theories
- Robinson ousted as Allegheny County Council finance chairman
- Fertility drugs more likely to lead to multiple births than fertilization techniques
- Cost of doing business increasing for Pirates
- Schmotzer resigns high-paid administrative job with Baldwin-Whitehall schools
- Scientist cited by U.S. bureau gets settlement