THE BASICS: HERE LIES JEREMY TROY, a 1965 comedy/farce by Jack Sharkey presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Jay Desiderio, opened on June 16 and runs about four shows a week, on different days, through July 29. For evening shows arrive at 6, with the show at 7:30; for the only remaining matinee, arrive at 1:00. Park in the back at Bobby J’s Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga (395-3207). www.mybobbyjs.com The ticket price is included in the entrées, which run from around $46 to $64 including soup or salad, vegetables, and dessert, which are all cleared before curtain. Run time about 90 minutes with one intermission.
THUMBNAIL SKETCH: A law clerk, Jeremy Troy, who is up for a partnership, is visited by a college friend, Charlie Bickle, now an artist, who lives by sponging off classmates whose names he gets off the alumni directory. Currently up to the letter “T” Bickle discovers that Troy’s law degree is fake and blackmails Jeremy into putting him up on the very night the big boss is coming for dinner. Meanwhile, an artist’s model, Tina Winslow, arrives, and Mrs. Troy suspects she’s there for an entirely different reason. Grand farce ensues with mistaken identities, multiple entrances and exits, slamming doors, and mis-interpreted intentions. All ends well when the boss, Mr. Ivorsen, thinks that anyone as devious as Jeremy Troy, law degree or no, actually would make a good lawyer!
THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION: This play stars some well-established Buffalo talent, in order of appearance: Andrew Starr as the hyper-kinetic Jeremy Troy and Marie Costa as the long-suffering Mrs. Troy, Richard Lambert as the freeloading Charlie Bickle, Jamie Nablo as the shapely model, and Marc-Jon Filippone as the blustering boss.
The costumes and set décor have been upgraded from 1965 to a winter in 1989 and all scenes take place in the Troy home in West Rutherford New Jersey. Of course, all good farce needs doors for plenty of entrances and exits (many at “exactly the wrong time”) and Desiderio’s stage set-up has four, one leading to the guest room, one to the outside, one to the kitchen and from there to the master bedroom, and one to the bathroom.
The play is ripe with 1965 zeitgeist and if you don’t remember that time personally, perhaps you’ve seen the television series “Mad Men” which portrayed the ideas and beliefs of the decade 1960 to 1970 so well. You won’t be surprised when watching JEREMY TROY to know that just before he started writing plays, Jack Sharkey was a cartoon editor for “Playboy” magazine. All of the tropes, memes, or clichés are there, including unbridled desire for career advancement, the stay-at-home and stay-in-the-kitchen wife, and the model who, if she’s attractive, must therefore be ditzy.
So, leave your 2018 sensibilities behind and enjoy HERE LIES JEREMY TROY for what it is, just as you might enjoy a re-run of The Lucille Ball Show (“Lucy, you gotta lotta ‘splainin’ to do”) or The Honeymooners (“To the moon, Alice, to the moon”).
Over his career, Mr. Sharkey ultimately published 83 plays, but this is probably his first, so you’ll have to forgive that some things happen a little too quickly and others go on for a bit too long, but those are minor quibbles.
The important note is that everyone on stage is a professional, they know comedy, their timing is impeccable, and whether you order the beef, the chicken, or the pasta, it’s all good.
UP NEXT: Jay’s working on his schedule but wasn’t quite ready to tip his hand just yet.
*HERD OF BUFFALO (Notes on the Rating System)
ONE BUFFALO: This means trouble. A dreadful play, a highly flawed production, or both. Unless there is some really compelling reason for you to attend (i.e. you are the parent of someone who is in it), give this show a wide berth.
TWO BUFFALOS: Passable, but no great shakes. Either the production is pretty far off base, or the play itself is problematic. Unless you are the sort of person who’s happy just going to the theater, you might look around for something else.
THREE BUFFALOS: I still have my issues, but this is a pretty darn good night at the theater. If you don’t go in with huge expectations, you will probably be pleased.
FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre/content are up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend.
FIVE BUFFALOS: Truly superb–a rare rating. Comedies that leave you weak with laughter, dramas that really touch the heart. Provided that this is the kind of show you like, you’d be a fool to miss it!