NEW PORT RICHEY — If the current offering at Richey Suncoast Theater seems a bit familiar, there's a reason. There's a Burglar in My Bed is the fifth sex farce by the same playwright — Michael Parker — that the theater has produced in the past couple of seasons.
But that's okay, especially if you like broad, easy-to-follow, laugh-filled comedy and appreciate a cast that delivers it well, as director Rich Aront's cast does.
Indeed, even though the situations have the same feel — two-timing spouses, double entendres, slamming doors as the two-timers barely miss running into each other, scantily clad women, a bumbler or two — the characters, dialogue, jokes and pay-off are different enough and hold enough surprises still to be fun, sort of like a your favorite TV series, only live and longer.
Burglar is set in a modern-day beachfront house, the getaway from the nearby mansion of gazillionaire William W. "Billy Worthington III (Bob Marcela) and his wife, Ashley (Christine Stoll). They're divorcing, and both of them covet the famous Worthington necklace, a diamond and emerald creation worth millions, and are willing to go to great lengths to get it.
Marcela is a great fit as the basically upright Billy — thoughtful, principled, easy-going — but he's blindly smitten by the gold-digging Lorraine "Buffy" Duval, played by Jesslyn Kostopoulos with facial expressions and physical moves that reveal the real, not-so-lovable Buffy. She itches to get her hands on that necklace, and the two plan a fake burglary with the help of Buffy's sister Deborah, a cheeky Dandy Blethroad, though Billy won't go so far as to also bilk the insurance company, too.
Stoll plays Ashley as down-to-earth — but still wanting that necklace. Ashley and her lover, Edward P. "Teddy" Brookstone (a charming Jeffrey Oles), recruit their lusty gal pal Marianne Van Kleef (Heather Clark — a stage natural) to finagle Billy into a compromising position just long enough for befuddled detective Wiliam Davis (a comical Michael Miller) to snap a picture. That way, Ashley can invoke the adultery clause of her pre-nup and get some of the Worthington loot.
Of course, everyone confuses the fake burglar with the fake mistress, so all the plans go hilariously awry.
Along the way are some unexpected sound gags (think the neighing horse in Young Frankenstein), thanks to sound board operator Zoe Brown, plenty of one-liners, detective Davis' multiple uproarious malapropisms, as well as some well-received topical humor.
If there's a flaw, it's the fault of the playwright, who pads Act 2 with unnecessary scenes that seem to slow the action, even though the players themselves keep a lively pace and don't miss a beat.