The sanctity of marriage, or lack thereof, is the theme of 1812 Productions’ “The Uneasy Chair.” This Victorian comedy set in London follows the marriage of Captain Josiah Wickett (David Howey) and Amelia Pickles (Maureen Torsney-Wier), as they squander their marriage and their lives quarrelling with and suing one another.
The play begins with Captain Wickett, a 50-something retire in search of a place to live. He finds a home at a boarding house owned by Amelia Pickles, a middle aged-single-woman concerned only with money and maintaining appearances in her upper-middle class neighborhood. The two struggle to coexist with one another as they argue over trivial matters.
Wickett and Pickles reluctantly marry each other as a result of Captain Wickett’s nephew, Darlington, and Amelia Pickles’ niece, Alexandrina. The plot thickens as Darlington and Alexandrina also marry, not out of love, but for the experience. Strangely enough, there is a sense that love exists in these marriages but neither couple is capable of communicating it to each other.
Director Jennifer Childs described the play as “part Oscar Wilde, part Monty Python and part Samuel Beckett.”
“The Uneasy Chair” is humorous and resembles a Saturday Night Live sketch with its screwball humor and crude PG-13 jokes. But the play is not immediately engaging. This has more to with the play’s writing than the actors themselves.
The play is most exciting when Darlington (Chris Faith), who bear a striking resemblance to Conan O’Brian, and Susan Riley Stevens are on stage. Faith and Riley have great chemistry and play well off one another while David Howey and Maureen Torsney-Wier compete with one another for laughs. Also, keep an eye on Peter Pryor, who delivers the most humorous of the performances as he jumps from role to role, including a nurse and a dandy.
Although “The Uneasy Chair” is full of laughs, people under 30 may not find all the jokes enjoyable. Also, the ending seemed rushed and uninspired, leaving the audience disappointed. It was even more of a shame because the cast was extremely talented.
Overall, “The Uneasy Chair” is a charming escape that offers a good change of scenery and environment.
The 1812 Productions’ “The Uneasy Chair” runs though April 25 at The Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom St. Tickets range from $10 to $25.
For more information visit their Web site at www.1812productions.org or call (215) 592-9560.
Amber Fairweather can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org