Friday, February 23, 2018
Stage

Stage West opens tax season with 'Love, Sex and the IRS'

Love, Sex and the IRS, the zany farce about a couple of bumbling tax cheats, playing Thursday and weekends through April 21 at Stage West Community Playhouse, couldn't have been more timely.

For one thing, it's tax time, so outsmarting the revenuers can make for some good laughs.

For another, the way things are sounding at the U.S. Supreme Court, the whole plot could soon be as anachronistic as an 8-track tape player, so it's a good thing Stage West decided to do it this season instead of later.

In it, male roommates Leslie Arthur (Dan Brijbag, multi HAMI winner) and Jon Trachtman (Juan Triana, HAMI as Banjo in Man Who Came to Dinner), a couple of occasionally working musicians, decide to save a little money by filing their federal income taxes as a married couple — an hilariously outrageous idea in 1979, when Billy Van Zandt and Jan Milmore wrote the play. To make the tax return plausible, the two guys designate gender-neutrally-named Leslie as a wife, since there's no such thing as a same-sex married couple.

Things heat up when IRS agent Floyd Spinner (Gary Depp, HAMI for Cuckoo's Nest) notifies the two that's he's descending on them for a tax audit. This sends Leslie into a frenzy to disguise himself as a woman, with the help of Jon's fiancee Kate (Nicole Cavalani, 9 to 5 at the Show Palace), who just happens to be having a hot and heavy flirtation with this "wife."

Into the midst of all this arrives Jon's possessive, over-protective mom (what other kind is there?) Vivian Trachtman (Betsy Glasson, Lily in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, multi-Hami winner) to meet her son's fiancee — but instead encounters a funny-looking "wife" named Leslie.

Just about that time, Leslie's ex-girlfriend Connie (Melissa Triana, Angel in Anything Goes) comes in wanting to know why Leslie dumped her.

Of course, there's a nosy landlord, Mr. Jansen (Maurice Batista, The King and I), who has a rule against co-habiting couples and wants to know just exactly when this new "wife" moved in and is she really a wife. And then there's a mysterious man, Arnold Gruinon (John Masterson, Doctor in The Miracle Worker), who lurks about threateningly and is up to who-knows-what.

The fast-paced play is filled with sometimes illogical plot twists, lightning-fast sight gags, lots of physical comedy and plenty of gag lines. The writers have collaborated on more than 20 plays and also written for television. The director is Leanne Germann (HAMI for directing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).

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