Check out the Reviews Page for more than 25 reviews of past productions.
NEWS AND REVIEWS:
2 cops, 3 crooks... 225 productions!
January 1, 2017 - Last year Unnecessary Farce had an incredible 39 productions, including production number 200, which opened March 31st in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This year starts off with production number 225, running January 11 through January 29 at Stockton Civic Theatre. It's extra-special to start the new year off with such a milestone. Happy 2017, Farceurs everywhere!
Ten Year Anniversary. TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
October 27, 2016 will mark the 10th anniversary of the world premiere of Unnecessary Farce at BoarsHead Theater in Lansing, Michigan. Who could have imagined what would follow?: more than 200 productions in the following ten years, productions in seven countries, in four languages.
It began unassumingly enough, in BoarsHead's cozy 250-seat theatre, but that first performance was a night to remember -- lines and moments getting laughs for the first time -- laughs we couldn't quite have imagined, laughs they're still getting ten years later.
So here's to a full decade of Eric and Billie, of Karen and Agent Frank and Todd and Mr. and Mrs. Meekly, of donuts and bagpipes and doors and beds and healthy-looking ficuses. To ten years of opening nights, and casts and crews and directors and designers and stage managers and light board operators. And to every audience at BoarsHead, every audience in 39 productions this year, and every audience in between. Thanks for the laughs!!!
The Connecticut premiere!
October 1, 2016 - Unnecessary Farce not only gets its Connecticut premiere this year -- the first production in the home state of playwright Paul Slade Smith -- it's also getting its premiere in Paul's hometown, West Hartford! What were the chances?
The hometown premiere runs at Playhouse on Park from November 2 through November 20, 2016.
And now... the 20th Canadian production!
August 17, 2016 - There's so much to thank Canada for (Joni Mitchell, Dudley Do-Right, a direct route from Michigan to Buffalo), and now THIS: the 20th Canadian production of Unnecessary Farce.
A year that already brought the 200th production of the play (at Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in, yup, Canada), now delivers the 20th Canadian production, at Ontario's venerable Dunfield Theatre Cambridge. The production, which was seen earlier this summer at Huron Country Playhouse, runs through September 4.
Opening soon: the 200th production
March 1, 2016 - In 2006, there was a single production. The following year, there was one more. The third year, there were six. By 2015, there were forty productions in a single year. And now, beginning later this month: the 200th production of Unnecessary Farce, opening March 31st at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg - Canada's largest regional theatre. This will be the largest-ever Farce production in Canada - and an amazing way to highlight the tenth year in the life of this play.
Óþarfa Offarsi is back!
February 22, 2106 - The Icelandic translation of Unnecessary Farce, (Óþarfa Offarsi means "Excessive Farce") was such a hit in Kopavagur in 2015 that the theatre produced it a second time in the same year. Now the same translation gets a new production, in Reykjavik, opening March 1st.
One can only hope that every Icelandic production is as watchable as this promotional video for the 2105 premiere. True, there's a great deal of text on the screen, but between the theme music and Blake Edward-inspired graphics, it's the most fun you'll ever have not understanding Icelandic.
2015: a record breaking year
December 16, 2015 - A year that began with Unnecessary Farce in London, Singapore and Iceland will end with a tally of 40 productions - the most ever in a single year. Setting aside its international expeditions, in the U.S. alone, Farce made its way from Florida to Maine to Washington state to southern California. It's even starting to repeat itself; this summer brought its second encore production - returning ("by popular demand!") to Iowa's Okoboji Summer Theatre, where it was first seen in 2010. But then, as a critic wrote of North Coast Repertory's production, "everything about this play is worth seeing twice."
The Philadelphia Inquirer review is... wow.
March 3, 2015 - Here are some of the best bits from The Philadelphia Inquirer review of Act II Playhouse's production of Unnecessary Farce. But, honestly?, you ought to just read the whole review.
"The audience roared throughout the 100-minute, two-act international hit. Smith has written a doozy of a door-slamming, mistaken-identity plot-shuffler. Director David Bradley's sterling timing strings laughs together at a machine-gun pace. The cast excels, particularly McKey, whom I've never seen perform comedy. I've seen most of these actors (Teti, Peakes, Lawton, Blouch), play Shakespeare, Ibsen, Stoppard and the like in shows across the region, and their talents are not wasted here."
"A sizzling cast and off-the-chart craziness"
January 14, 2015 - The first production of 2015 is a hit! Florida's Theatre Winter Haven got a rave review from The Ledger, which declared, “If you're a fan of farces, this is the best of its kind seen in Winter Haven in a long time. If farce isn't typically your thing, come see it anyway. This one might change your mind.”
Best. Analogy. Ever.
November 7, 2014 - It's opening night of the final Unnecessary Farce production of the year - and a great time to celebrate 2014, a year that saw 30 new Farce productions (the most-ever in a single year) and the highest-grossing production in the play's history, at Stage West Calgary.
2014 also gave the world the best analogy ever used to describe the experience of watching Unnecessary Farce. Courtesy of the Almanac Weekly, reviewing the production at Shadowland Theatre, in Ellenville, New York:
"Shadowland has a long track record of offering this sort of door-slammer farce, such as last year’s excellent production of Boeing, Boeing; but the eight-door, two-bed set for Unnecessary Farce takes the breathless craziness up a notch. It’s one of those rare comedies where you feel out of breath before the first act is over and utterly helpless by the end, like a ticklish child whose tormentor has no mercy whatsoever."
"Will literally leave you breathless"
August 4, 2014 - Most great reviews give you lovely little phrases to quote. But some reviews, you just want to quote the whole thing.
Here are just the first and last paragraphs of the Times Herald-Record review of Unnecessary Farce at Shadowland Theatre:
“Want to see a play that will have you laughing from beginning to end, will literally leave you breathless from the hysteria taking place onstage and make you want to go back and see it again?”
“If you love the sound of slamming doors, the back-and-forth repartee of witty dialogue... and the madcap antics of supremely well done farce, then get yourself to Unnecessary Farce at Shadowland Theatre. Contrary to its name, it's very necessary for you to see this summer hit. Oh, and bring a hankie because you'll be crying tears of laughter.”
Erin Noel Grennan and Tim Monsion at Peninsula Players Theatre
AWARDS & NOMINATIONS:
Unnecessary Farce and its productions have been honored with 9 regional theatre awards, and a total of 18 award nominations.
Unnecessary Farce - Thespie Award (Michigan) - Best New Show;
Unnecessary Farce - Locals Love Us Award (Texas) - Best Theatre Production;
Unnecessary Farce - Denver Post Readers' Choice Award - Best Comedy;
Allie Perez - Globe Award (San Antonio) - Lead Actress, Comedy;
Kate Berry - Pulsar Award (Michigan) - Best Supporting Actress;
Caitlin Wise - Ovation Award (Denver) - Best Supporting Actress;
Scott Liebowitz - Globe Award - Supporting Actor, Comedy;
Stephen Cole Hughes - Denver Post Readers' Choice Award - Supporting Actor, Comic Role;
Matthew Byron Cassi - Globe Award - Director
Unnecessary Farce - Salt Award (Syracuse) - Best Production
Unnecessary Farce - Ovation Award (Denver) - Best Comedy
Erin Noel Grennan - Wilde Award (Detroit) - Best Actress
Caitlin Wise - Henry Award (Colorado) - Outstanding Actress
Dustin Charles - Salt Award - Best Actor
David Girolmo - Wilde Award - Best Supporting Actor
Stephen Cole Hugues - Ovation Award - Best Supporting Actor
Mario Cabrera - Henry Award - Outstanding Supporting Actor
Jamie Horton - Henry Award - Outstanding Direction
"A masterpiece of dramatic farce."
July 14, 2014 - "Sit back, catch your breath and howl," advises The Catskill Chronicle in its rave review of Unnecessary Farce at Shadowland Theatre. The cast "performs with the precision of trained trapeze artists on the high wire; they're in one door, out the other. Slam! Bam!" The review especially praises Shadowland's Artistic Director Brendan Burke for his direction of "this masterpiece of dramatic farce".
The production in Ellenville, New York runs through August 3rd.
"It's good for the soul."
May 14, 2014 - When The Topeka Capital-Journal wrote its rave review of Unnecessary Farce, it called the play "an uproariously funny script" which "had the full house shrieking with laughter." And it concluded its review with this paragraph:
"The audience adored it. I have never seen a unanimous standing ovation for a farce until now, but then I have also never heard an audience laugh as much as they did during this show. This is the funniest show you'll see all year and it's going to sell out. Don’t miss the chance to spend two hours in deep belly-laughter with friends and strangers alike. It’s good for the soul.”
April 7, 2014 - Stage West Calgary's ten-week run of Unnecessary Farce got rave reviews from the critics (see post below). But it also got a lot of love from fans on Facebook and Twitter:
"An AMAZING show. I have never laughed so hard in my life!!!!"
"Oh my gosh #unnecessaryfarce at @StageWestCgy is sooooooo funny! Never laughed so hard. Go see this show! Seriously! #scotchtape"
"Unnecessary Farce @StageWestCgy is hilarious!!"
"An Awesome Show - a Must See"
"★★★★★ the best night out ever"
"The laughter is literally relentless."
February 25, 2014 - The reviews from Calgary are in, and Stage West’s production is getting raves. “Howlingly funny” says the Calgary Sun. “Call in the (laugh) riot police,” says Calgary Is Awesome, “Stage West truly shines when given a good farce, and this one ranks up there among the best I've seen.”
"Consistently and progressively hilarious" says the Calgary Herald, giving the show 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. And in his online review, the Herald critic writes “The laughter is literally relentless. Unnecessary Farce stands out in my mind as the best comedy I’ve seen in this facility - and there have been some awfully good ones over the past five years."
"If the reaction of last night's audience is any indication," writes the Herald critic, "word of mouth is going to be the cause for a whole lot of sellouts during the next couple of months."
"The comedic highlight of the year"
January 3, 2014 - Compiling their list of the best theatre productions of 2013, the South Bend Tribune declared: “Paul Slade Smith's Unnecessary Farce was uproarious, and the comedic highlight of the year.”
This is the fourth time in its history that Unnecessary Farce has been included in a best-of-the-year list, having previously received the honor in San Antonio, Texas (San Antonio Express-News) Phoenix, Arizona (Phoenix New Times) and Syracuse, New York (Post-Standard).
The Tribune clearly loved the play in its initial review in February of 2013, calling it “outrageously hysterical” and “a superbly written and structured comedy.” “Under Richard Baxter's well-paced direction, Civic's cast takes all these elements and creates a hilarious, physically demanding production that's as much an ensemble work as a collection of excellent individual performances.”
"The funniest play we've ever produced"
August 28, 2013 - In a 2013 interview with the Mount Desert Islander, Andrew Mayer, the Producing Director of Acadia Repertory Theatre, called Unnecessary Farce “the funniest play we've ever produced at the Acadia Rep.”
“It is a very sophisticated modern American take on classic British farce,” Mayer told the paper, “with all the slamming doors, pants falling down, mistaken identities and general madness of the genre. But its intelligence and warmth, and the sheer number of jokes per page, put it into the company of masterpieces like Noises Off."