So I finally saw The Underpants last night (it opened last Friday, Sept 20) and I laughed. A lot. Steve Martin’s delightful script is absolutely jammed with double entrendres, and director Ginette Mohr has cast the roles with spot-on precision – the actors truly inhabit their characters, and commit to the ridiculous without losing touch with reality.
Some of my favourite lines, in no particular order:
“I won’t beat about the bush. Oh, my God – what an inappropriate allusion.” – smitten poet VERSATI, to LOUISE, the object of his obsession.
“That’s barbaric!” – VERSATI
“How dare you insult barbers!” – COHEN, the hypochondriac barber.
“Deception, lies and trickery. My little girl is all grown up.” – nosy neighbour GERTRUDE, to LOUISE.
“I suffer from constipation, but that’s my business.” – KLINGLEHOFF, a grouchy old man.
“Don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’re of sound bottom.” – LOUISE’s petty bureaucrat husband THEO, to GERTRUDE.
“You might not like me – I’m 42.” – GERTRUDE.
“Mention my name. God likes me.” – THEO to LOUISE, who’s going to church.
If you’re doing a double-take on the playwright’s name, yes: it’s THAT Steve Martin. His hilarious adaptation of German playwright Carl Sternheim’s 1910 farce Die Hose was critically acclaimed when it opened Off-Broadway in 2002, and has since been staged all over the world. Martin is well-known as a comedian and actor, but his other interests and skills are wide-ranging: he’s also a serious art collector, a writer (output includes the novella Shopgirl; the play Picasso at the Lapin Agile; frequent pieces in The New York Times and The New Yorker), and more recently, his long-standing obsession with the banjo earned him a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. He toured the U.S. earlier this year in support of Love Has Come For You, his new album with Edie Brickell.
Last night, Alumnae Theatre Company ran a little promo: anyone who came to the theatre with their underpants over their clothes would get a free ticket. Four brave souls answered the challenge. They laughed too. Here’s producer Jennifer McKinley’s Twitter photo of them:
The Underpants runs to Oct 5 – check www.alumnaetheatre.com for showtimes – don’t miss it!