In 1910-11, German playwright Carl Sternheim penned “The Underpants,” a satire about a beautiful, neglected young housewife Louise, who enjoyed a …
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In 1910-11, German playwright Carl Sternheim penned “The
Underpants,” a satire about a beautiful, neglected young housewife
Louise, who enjoyed a brief moment of fame when her underpants came
untied and dropped while she was watching a parade — just at the
Kaiser passed by.
Fast forward to 2002: Fortunately, the wild and crazy— and
brilliant— Steve Martin discovered “The Underpants” and rewrote it
in his fast-paced, witty style, a farce that opened Off-Broadway in
New York and has been performed nationally and internationally
since — always with lots of laughing going on.
“The Underpants” plays through Aug. 29 at Miners Alley
Playhouse, in Golden, a repeat of a previous success.
Act I opens as fussy bureaucratic German husband Theo (John
Greene) berates his lively young wife Louise (Haley Johnson). He is
utterly humiliated over her brief loss of her drawers during a
recent parade and fearful that the scandal will cost him his job.
Her responses raise feminist ideas at a time when it wasn’t OK.
Tight with his money, Theo has posted a “for rent” sign for the
spare bedroom in the couple’s apartment (A cheery Germanic room
designed in primary colors by Richard Pegg of Highlands Ranch).
Potential renters appear, aware of Louise’s charms: first
cape-clad poet Franklin Angelo Versati III (Chris Bleau), full of
flowery and suggestive talk. “I’m a poet, unpublished, I’m proud to
say! … I want to sleep with you. It will only take a minute,” he
tells the excited Louise, then rushes off to write a poem.
Next, in shuffles Benjamin (K)ohen (with a K), a Martin touch
recognizing prevailing anti-Semitism. Christian Mast, with black
hat, sidelocks and body language, upholds his reputation as
resident funny guy at Miners Alley. Theo has told him he can have
the room and decides to divide it and collect twice as much
Johnson is an accomplished comic actress and winks and wiggles
her way through this production, provided with a number of funny
lines by Martin.
The characters all speak with a German accent, which adds to the
silliness and gives a sort of rhythm to each scene.
Paige Lynn Larson plays Gertrude, a nosy neighbor who is
enjoying all the fuss and encouraging Louise to have some fun when
stuffy Theo is away. In fact, she hopes to have some fun
The final character, uptight Herr Klinglehoff, is played by Dell
Domnick. He is also interested in the room — and Louise — and by
now, the poet has gone off in pursuit of another woman.
Well, almost final. A roller skating king in crown and green
velvet cape swoops in briefly. You really need to be there.
Director Rick Bernstein has concocted a tightly paced bit of
summer silliness, overlaid by Martin’s intelligence and wit.
If you go:
“The Underpants” by Steve Martin, plays through August 29 at
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington St., Golden. Performances:
7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays, except Aug. 29 when
there will be a matinee only at 2 p.m. 303-935-3044 (24 hours),
website for Golden promotional offers).
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