The cardinal rule of business is: Give the customers what they want.
And show biz is no different, whether it's Shakespeare, Ibsen or the Marx Brothers.
That could explain why the current offering at the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse, Sex Please, We're Sixty, quickly sold every seat for every show and is just as quickly selling out the added performance at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The zany plot is aimed straight at those of a certain age who are so ubiquitous around here. We get the jokes, we like the characters, and we love laughing out loud at them and ourselves as we recognize what's going on. Indeed, director Kathy Capelle's six well-chosen actors give it to us in spades for two solid belly-laughing hours, and costume designer Eileen's Bernard's outfits help set the tone.
Set in a current-day Rose Cottage Bed & Breakfast, Sex Please revolves around four strong-willed women and two neighboring men who couldn't be any more different.
White-haired Bud "the Stud" Davis (a delightful Bill Scott) is constantly on the prowl for the new "chicks," as he calls them, who sign the B&B registry. He's hoping that some of his favorites from the previous year will show up, never mind that he can't remember their names or exactly what they looked like.
"Everything's working except my memory," he muses.
The courtly Henry Mitchell (a solid Gary Depp), a retired chemist, only has eyes for the B&B owner, the obsessively punctual and proper Mrs. Stancliffe (a lovely Karen Doxey), a widow of 25 years who has refused Henry's daily marriage proposals for the past 20 years.
The three female guests are romance novelist Victoria Ambrose (a plucky Terri Marwood), who is suffering from writer's block and hoping for some local inspiration; scientist/researcher Hillary Hudson (a sophisticated, cultured Jacki Scott), an old pal of Bud's; and Southern charmer Charmaine Beauregard (a properly over-the-top Rose DeAngelo).
Henry confides to Bud that he's invented a new pill, Venusia, a female Viagra that stimulates a menopausal woman's libido. The women find out, pilfer some of the pills and the comedy ensues.
Central to it is Scott's portrayal of Bud the Stud. Scott's physical humor — hunching his shoulders, wiggling his hips, nursing his aching back, happily dancing around when he thinks he's close to a conquest — and big ol' Rodney Dangerfield eyes are a joy to behold and deservedly get many of the biggest and best laughs. It's unfortunate some of his best lines are spoken so quietly and quickly that they don't reach the back rows, because they're all doozies. (Hint: If you have a hearing problem, try to sit close to the front.)
Playwrights Michael and Susan Parker pepper their play with good lines for everyone. "Instead of growing old gracefully, he's growing old disgracefully," Victoria says of Bud the Stud. Even when they overload Charmaine with too many groan-worthy Southern cliches, Ms. DeAngelo overplays them so much that they become rather endearing.
Playgoers who like the Parker writing style can see another of his shows when New Port Richey's Richey Suncoast Theatre does The Amorous Ambassador, opening Thursday and continuing weekends through Nov. 3.