Review: “Farce of Nature” is a force of comedy

Published 10:32 am Friday, July 7, 2023

Pioneer Playhouse’s second show of the season, “Farce of Nature,” hit the stage on July 4.

“Farce of Nature,” by the writing team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, follows some wild and unusual happenings at a fishing lodge in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas called the Reel ’Em Inn. The Wilburn family, owners of the inn, are trying to revive the once-great lodge. However, they begin to face family drama while welcoming unexpected guests who bring their own drama.

The result is an explosion of comedic chaos in the form of mistaken identity, frenzied confrontations and secrets being exposed.

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Oxford Languages defines a “farce” as “a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations.”

This play embodies that definition to a T. Audiences got big laughs out of character buffoonery, ridiculous disguises, and sitcom-style one-liners.

Returning from Pioneer Playhouse’s first show of the season, “Blood Suede Shoes,” are Jack Giglia, Peyton White, Erika Lee Sengstack, Patricia Hammond and Daniel Hall Kuhn, all playing wildly different characters than in “Blood Suede Shoes.”

Their characters in “Farce of Nature” are more relatable and realistic. White, Hammond and Sengstack each play lovesick females, desperate for their partners’ attention and willing to go to drastic, yet silly, measures to gain it.

Giglia and Kuhn play two of the well-meaning yet clueless males, whose partners believe they might be cheating.

Throughout the show, Kuhn’s character Gene Wilburn desperately tries to maintain a good image of the lodge for a potential investor, all in the midst of confrontational misunderstandings, wild loose animals, gun-pulling, and hilarious hypnosis accidents.

When comparing this show to “Blood Suede Shoes,” this show is a more straight-up comedy. It’s slightly more mellow in terms of overall plot and chaos, but only slightly. The show is just as outrageous and funny, and each character again has their own agenda.

Runtime came in at around 1 hour and 40 minutes including the intermission. Actors didn’t feel rushed when compared to the pace of “Blood Suede Shoes,” and all had great comedic timing.

Joining this season for “Farce of Nature” are Rita Hight, Eric Seale, Jonny Maldonado and Izzie Lambros, each commanding the stage when their characters are present.

Hight plays the character Maxie Suggs, a bungling cop on witness protection duty of Maldonado’s character, Carmine DeLuca. Suggs frequently teases the city-bred DeLuca about his disdain for nature, and the two share some delightful bickering.

Hight brings a lot of comedy to the show as the over-excited and slightly incompetent cop, who still manages to do her job even when faced with a mob boss.

Seale, playing the tough mob boss Sonny Barbosa, causes chaos for other characters immediately upon his thunderous entering. Barbosa brought matters of life and death into the show, all for the sake of love and revenge.

The playhouse will be having an ASL-Interpreted night for “Farce of Nature” on Wednesday, July 12. They’ll have one for the next show “Kosher Lutherans” on Tuesday, August 1. Both events are sponsored by Whitaker Bank.

“Farce of Nature” will run Tuesdays through Saturdays until July 22.