Melissa Martin, Devin Scott, and Ed Lee are caught in an awkward moment from Leading Ladies.

Melissa Martin, Devin Scott, and Ed Lee are caught in an awkward moment from Leading Ladies.

Leading Ladies

At the Circle Bar B Theatre, Saturday, July 26. Shows through September 7.

Irony becomes the most appropriate coping tool early in Circle Bar B’s Leading Ladies, as when the most pious Reverend Duncan (Sean O’Shea) remarks of the main characters, “They [actors] lie for a living!” Directed by Aaron Levin, Leading Ladies is ridiculously hilarious, presenting the audience with a complicated knot spilling over with Shakespearean premises, men becoming women, and men kissing men. As if in a most unfair fairy tale, greediness is somewhat rewarded, a dying aunt is resuscitated more than once, and roller skates appear as a new hot item. As Shakespeare might (proudly) say, “Time must untangle this, not I.”

It’s 1958. Leo Clark (Devin Scott) and Jack Gable (Edward Lee) are unsuccessful Shakespearean actors who take on new roles as con artists in order to inherit two million dollars from a certain dying Aunt Florence (Sam Muir). Diverting from their previous course toward York, Pennsylvania, Leo and Jack must dress up as Maxine and Stephanie, the long lost cousins of Meg (Melissa Martin), who happens to be getting married to the Reverend Duncan. David Couch plays the “Doc” who watches over Aunt Florence’s health while his son Butch (Kellen Vanetti) is madly in love with his girlfriend Audrey (Luisa Frasconi).

As Maxine/Leo and Stephanie/Jack, Scott and Lee are irresistible, entering the small-town world of York only to overturn all its tables, including their own. As the awkwardly hairy Maxine falls in love with Meg, Stephanie asks young Audrey to “give us a hug.” When Maxine decides to get the renowned Leo Clark to put on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the mad tempo of reversal and surprise accelerates.

Somehow all this laughter and confusion communicates a clear moral: that one should live life to the fullest and abide by everything that lies between spontaneity and risk. Scott and Lee and their antics are the show’s comic highlight. Enjoy this extremely funny team under Aaron Levin’s sharp direction now, before the game is up

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