Director – Andi Allen
Set Design – Dave Tenney
Lighting Design – Dave Tenney
Costume Design – Kayla Freeman
Property Design – Kristin M. Burgess
Sound Design – Andi Allen
Stage Manager – Brandi L. McDowell
Burglar – Kevin Michael Fuld
Howard Swerling – Kenneth Fulenwider
Penny – Jennifer Obeney
Jimmy – Cory Germany
Tove – Sara Roberts
Neighbor – Robert San Juan
Dierdre – Francine Simpson
Captain Webber – Steve Schreur
Constable – Nathan D. Willard
Inspector – Kevin Michael Fuld
Gorilla – Zac Cooper
Reviewed Performance 4/1/2016
Reviewed by Angela Newby, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
This farce is full of eccentric characters, mysterious turns, and thieves galore, all enhanced by the characters themselves! While Howard and Penny are asleep, a burglar comes in and steals various items including Howard’s suit. The play then tells the story of how Howard desperately tries to find clothing so he can return home to his wife. The cast and crew of Rover Dramawerks have done it once again and have produced the best show of the season with When Did You Last See Your Trousers?
Director Andi Allen has assembled a talented cast and crew that cohesively worked together and each played off of the strengths of each other to produce an amazing show. Allen also constructed the sound design and while subtle, was perfectly executed and enhanced the play. Each and every ringing phone and horn honking was perfectly synced and brought out the natural humor of the script.
Dave Tenney, Set Design and Lighting Design, out did himself. The set consisted of Penny’s flat in London circa 1980’s. The yellow/beige room was well constructed with multiple doors and windows for actors to easily move among the large set in a small space. Tenney’s focus on the buildings outside the window complete with brickwork and a narrow ledge were perfect for the fifth floor flat. While simplistic in nature, the set was an accent to the performance on stage and worked well within the play.
Lighting, also by Tenney, was modest and worked fully around the aspects of the play which occurs in the middle of the night to the wee hours of dawn. The dim stage with the obvious bright spotlights of the streetlights outside allowed for the burglar to stealthily get away with his crime, while the dimmer lights within the flat showed the contrast of full lights to mid lights depending on the scene.
Costumes by Kayla Freeman were well designed and perfect for this farce. As Howard searches for a replacement suit no matter what, there were multiple times were Freeman shows her talent by having clothing that fits a wide arrange of body types and styles. Each of the suits were carefully constructed to fit multiple characters and this was especially true in the constables police uniform that while slightly big on him, it doesn’t distract as the audience can see the foreshadowing of what is yet to come. The ladies on the other hand were carefully dressed in lingerie. Penny’s opening costume of a white nighty was perfect for her mistress role, while Tove’s green bra and panty set that was her go-to costume was perfect for her seductress ways. The gentlemen were scantly clothed as well in white undershirts, socks, and boxers as they desperately look for more clothing. Freeman has brought together this scandalous play with costumes that were tasteful amongst the lack of material being used.
Kristin M. Burgess’s props were spectacular. Her use of 1980’s décor fills the flat with the fill of two adult women who are ready to conquer the world. The use of animal print sheets and rugs helped balance the yellow beige set. The chunky cordless phone and wind up alarm clocks boosted the play and brought the audience back to the time period of the play. Burgess did a fantastic job with each element that was on stage and there was a definite purpose for each item.
Kenneth Fulenwider’s Howard Swerling was energetic and enigmatic. His character’s hyperactivity and swift movements enhanced the humor in every single scene. Fulenwider’s high-pitched nervous vocals, wringing hands, and pacing all showed Howard’s fear of getting caught. Yet it was when Howard must go to extreme measures to find a new outfit that Fulenwider’s ability as an actor really shines. Fulenwider was perfectly cast and makes this farce.
As the mistress, Penny played by Jennifer Obeney, was spot-on the seductress as well as the strong, independent women that she needed to be. Obeney’s ability to maintain both of these traits interchangeably truly showed off her talent as an actress. Through Obeney’s confident smile, seductress poses, and batting eyes, it was no wonder why Howard was attracted to Penny. While there were a few missed lines, Obeney quickly recovered.
Sara Roberts, Tove, was a hoot. While her accent wasn’t completely believable, it was consistent and strong throughout the play. Tove, Howard’s au pair, quickly gains knowledge of his affair and becomes part of the tricky love triangle. Roberts nailed Tove’s aloof and ditzy personality with her bubbly personality, wide eyes, and infectious laugh.
The Neighbor portrayed by Robert San Juan was hilarious. San Juan’s use of blank stares, out of breath vocals, and wide eyes all captured the amnesia element of his character. As The Neighbor was finally able to identify his true identity San Juan perfectly displayed this with his wagging eye brows, shocked expressions, and playboy swagger.
Nathan D. Willard as the Constable was the epitome of a farce police officer. Through exaggerated facial expressions and formal body language, Willard easily portrayed the strict constable. As the play progressed, Willard continued to show his characters love of the ladies as his eager movements and vocal inflections oozed with romance.
Kevin Michael Fuld played both the Burglar and the Inspector. As the Burglar Fuld’s stealth movements and confident vocals clearly explained why the burglar was not caught in the act. As the Inspector, Fuld’s powerful and commanding vocals echoed off the walls to show his character’s authority. His rigid stance and piercing gaze lent to the comedic nature of the farce through his trigger happy finger.
Jimmy, the punk rocker ex of Penny, was played by Cory Germany. Germany’s half grins and flirty glances nailed this party character perfectly. Steve Schreur as Captain Webber was fantastic. His deep rumbly vocals and hard stares perfectly depicted Captain Webber’s character.
Francine Simpson, Dierdre, was Penny’s neighbor wrapped up with the Neighbor. Simpson’s deep sultry voice and playful personality showed the carefree attitude of a woman with a man sneaking out in the middle of the night. Zac Cooper played the singing Gorilla and allowed for the comic relief at the end of the play. Cooper’s dry personality and lackadaisical attitude was spot-on for a man who truly could care less about his job.
Rover Dramawerks has put on the show of the year with When Did You Last See Your Trousers? It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a fun night out with your significant other, your friends, or even family, this is one show that will have you crying with laughter and amused at the outlandish cast that brings this farce to life!
WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR TROUSERS?
Rover Dramawerks, 221 W. Parker Road, Suite 580, Plano, TX 75023
Runs through April 23rd
Thursday - Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Saturday, April 9th at 2:00pm, Tickets are $16.00 Thursday and $22.00 Friday - Saturday. Student, senior, and group discounts are available. For info and to purchase tickets, go to www.roverdramawerks.com or call the box office at 972-849-0358.