King’s Town Players show their Underpants

Local production of Steve Martin play is laced with laughs

Steve Martin’s The Underpants is on until Feb. 8.
Steve Martin’s The Underpants is on until Feb. 8.
Photo supplied by John A. Geddes

What would you do if your underpants fell down in public?

In King’s Town Players’ latest production The Underpants, that’s the situation housewife Louise finds herself in. One moment, she’s attending a public parade, and the next, her white bloomers are around her ankles.

Her accident inadvertently draws the attention of two lusty men: Versati, a passionate poet, and Cohen, a sickly barber. Both rent a room at Louise’s house and attempt to win her affections under the nose of her oblivious husband.

Lies and laughter ensue, propelled by a lively script filled with innuendo. Yet there’s much more to this play than pure bawdiness: the script provides witty aphorisms and social commentary in the style of Oscar Wilde.

The audience was kept laughing for the entire evening. In fact, The Underpants was written by famed comedian Steve Martin. As someone who had only been familiar with his recent movies, I found myself pleasantly surprised by his skill as a playwright.

Much of Martin’s skill comes from his ability to create memorable one-liners. As an English major, “Poems are like giraffes: they both make no sense” was probably my favourite of the evening.

Of course, these lines wouldn’t be nearly as amusing if they weren’t delivered by skilled actors. Though King’s Town Players was formed just four years ago, many of the actors have years of experience.

One of the stand-out actors, however, was much younger than his co-workers. Gabe Meacher, a grade 12 student at a local high school, played the role of Cohen, a nerve-wracked barber vying for Louise’s love.

Even when he was not speaking, he never broke character, and entertained the audience with his humorous reactions to the characters speaking centre-stage.

His demonstration of his character’s personality was aided by the play’s use of costumes and make-up. He wore a baggy suit, making him appear thin and fragile, and red circles framed his eyes, giving him a tired appearance.

The play was set entirely in the bottom floor of Louise and her husband’s home. The cheerful decor of the set matched the lively tone of the play: colourful plates lined the shelves of the mint-green walls, framed by bright yellow trim. Old couches and chairs gave it a homely feel.

The sound effects were infrequent, but used to good effect: one of the few sound effects was of a chirping cuckoo clock, whose noises reflected the current emotions the characters were experiencing.

The music was even more subtle, used only during scene changes. Though they were not featured prominently, upbeat tracks such as “The Entertainer” kept up the lively overall tone of the play.

In the end, the play left me with a smile on my face. When else are you going to get to listen to people talk about underwear for an hour and a half at a yacht club?

Tailor-made to delight, The Underpants is laced with plenty of laughs.

The Underpants runs from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 and Feb. 5 to 8. It will be shown at 8 p.m. at the Kingston Yacht Club.

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