Lend Me a Tenor’ opens with a night of laughing
By CELESTE GRACEY
Renton Reporter Staff Writer
Oct 05 2009, 3:11 PM
The Valley Community Players opening season performance, “Lend Me a Tenor,” is perfect for a night of laughing.
Peter Herpst, playing lead character Tito, connected well on stage with Rachel Rene Araucto, playing wife Maria. Through slapstick, awkward bluntness and marital bickering, the actors made up some of the show’s most hilarious moments.
Lead actors James Wyatt, playing Max, and Herpst surprised the audience into applause after singing solos and duets in rich tenor voices.
The amateur actors finished the show by pantomiming it in a melodramatic style, a difficult acting technique, which ends the show in a parade of laughter.
The show isn’t for children, as one woman strips to a towel and another to her slip. Though some might consider them modest by today’s standards, the context is sexual.
In the play Tito and Max are supposed to look identical in costume with blackface, but Wyatt is tall and slender and Herpst is short and heavier, making it difficult to believe. However, this doesn’t detract from the humor.
The playhouse was half full opening night, but don’t let this dissuade you from seeing the show.
The comedy, which won eight Tony Awards nationally, tells the story of Tito, a world-famous tenor, who plans to sing the lead in “Othello” with the Cleveland Opera Company in the 1930s.
Chaos ensues when Tito’s wife mistakes a fan hiding in his closet for a secret lover and leaves him.
The situation worsens when Tito accidentally takes too many sleeping pills, sending him into a deep sleep.
In a plot to save the show, the opera house manager sends his assistant, Max, to fill in for Tito, disguising his identity with the once popular blackface.
The scheme works out well, until Tito wakes up, also in blackface, and heads for the stage. The result is a slapstick comedy full of plot twists and wild entrances and exits.