NEW PORT RICHEY — If you enjoyed playwright Michael Parker's zany, over-the-top farces Hot Bed Hotel, Sensuous Senator, Sin, Sex and the C.I.A. and the Amorous Ambassador during the last few seasons at Richey Suncoast Theatre, you'll love his There's a Burglar in My Bed, playing Jan. 16 to Feb. 2.
The names have changed and the setting has changed, but the door-slamming, bed-hopping, misunderstandings, near-misses, madcap physical humor, over-sexed characters, philandering spouses and double entendres are all there, as dependable (and familiar) and funny as your favorite TV sitcom, only longer.
In this, er, episode, the wealthy William W. Worthington III — playfully called "Billy" — (Bob Marcela, Harry Douglas in the Amorous Ambassador and Sensuous Senator) is in the midst of a divorce from his wife of 13 years, Ashley (Christine Stoll, Maureen the Maid in Hotbed Hotel; mistress Marian in Ambassador). Both, of course, have lovers on the side (this is a Michael Parker farce).
There's big money at stake, but thanks to a prenuptial agreement, divvying up the goods shouldn't be all that complicated.
Which, of course it is (see Parker comment above). It seems that both Billy and Ashley want possession of the famous Worthington necklace, a near-priceless family heirloom not specifically mentioned in the prenup. In addition, Ashley stands to get a much bigger chunk of the pie if she can catch Billy philandering.
So when Billy mentions that he's taking a trip out of town to shoot ducks with the Duponts, Ashley says she'll also be gone to visit her mom in Boston.
In truth, both plan to meet up with their sweeties in the Worthingtons' beach house: Billy with his honey, Lorraine DuVal — playfully called Buffy — (Jesslyn Kostopoulos, title role in Sweet Charity), and Ashley with her lover, Edward P. Brookstone — a.k.a. Teddy — (Jeffrey Oles, Ren in Footloose).
As soon as each couple meets, however, their thoughts turn from hanky-panky to how they can connive to get that Worthington necklace. Ashley and Teddy recruit their country club pal, home-wrecker Marianne Van Kleeff (Heather Clark, Faye in Ambassador), to wrangle Billy into a compromising position, thus nullifying the prenup, and hire the bumbling detective William Davis (Michael Miller) to photograph it all.
At the same time, Billy and Buffy conspire to fake a burglary with the help of Buffy's sister, Deborah (Dandy Blethroad, Ethel in Thoroughly Modern Millie), so they can end up with the necklace.
Naturally, none of this works as planned, but, in true Parker style, getting to the point where it does happens only after much mayhem and many laughs.
Directing is Rich Aront, himself a veteran of Parker plays, having played the self-righteous congressman in The Sensuous Senator.