If you enjoyed the zany comedy The Sensuous Senator at Richey Suncoast Theatre in October, you'll probably go wild for Hot Bed Hotel, opening Thursday at the theater and continuing weekends through Jan. 27.
Both plays were written by Michael Parker, an Englishman who writes British-style bedroom farces with an American slant. Both comedies have philandering husbands and sexy babes, as well as lots of close calls, double entendres, slamming doors and big surprises.
Still, like other movies, television shows or Broadway musicals penned by the same writer(s) (think Judd Apatow, Aaron Sorkin or Rodgers and Hammerstein), each Parker comedy has its own story, characters and setting that make it an all-new experience.
Hot Bed Hotel has hotel owners Terri Cody (Heather Clark, Lois in Senator) and hubby Brian (Mark Lewis, Owen Musser in The Foreigner) trying to sell their run-down Key West hotel. There's only one prospective buyer, New York businessman Samuel B. Lewis (Dominic Belluccio), who has notified the Codys that he and his wife, Ashley (Alicia Petson, Winnie in No, No, Nannette), will be arriving from Miami within a few hours to give the place a look-see.
Knowing that the hotel's empty rooms won't impress the money man, the Codys convince their meager work force to impersonate upscale staff and/or paying guests. That includes their daffy housemaid Maureen (Christine Stoll) and their dipsomaniac handyman Hopkins (Steve Rice).
Also in the mix are the hotel's perennial guest, Major Posenby (Bill Schommer, Dr. Drimmond in There Goes the Bride), a retired British officer who may or may not have a twin brother who happens to be a wealthy Arab sheik who is also interested in buying the hotel, and the admitted nymphomaniac Hayley Harrington (Samantha Parisi), who shows up once a year to turn the hotel upside down.
Hot Bed has played theaters throughout the United States, Canada and Europe to generally good reviews, especially in Florida. The Boca Raton News said, "There's not a wrong move in the play." The New Smyrna Beach Observer called it a "hilarious and timely American farce." The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times said it has "witty humor sprinkled throughout the script" and called it "a must-see," as did the Davis Enterprise in California.
Despite the suggestive title, Hot Bed Hotel is light-hearted, innocent fare appropriate for anyone old enough to keep up with the fast-paced dialogue and tangled situations.
The Richey Suncoast production is directed by Robin New, a veteran of the Early Bird Dinner Theatre in Clearwater.