The Servant of Two Masters
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Bagley Wright Theatre
Written by Carlo Goldoni Adapted by Constance Congdon
Directed by Christopher Bayes
September 27th-October 20th
Dazzled and Content. That is how you feel walking out of The Servant of Two Masters at the Seattle Rep. You will also leave with a stomach ache from laughing for about two hours straight. This modern telling of a classic commedia dell’arte show is a giant, comedic, sigh of relief. The performers are top notch, the action is non-stop and the music is incredible. Yes, that’s right; there is a band of two musicians, violinist Carolyn Boulay, and composer Aaron Halva, who plays an accordion, toy piano and several percussion instruments. Both are on stage for the duration of the play which is, probably, my favorite aspect of the whole show. They engage with the actors, sing along and bring a energized, cabaret feel to the production. The second I heard the accordion I was swooning, you can’t really fail with a violin and an accordion in my book.
Lacy and I knew what we we’re going into when we saw Servant was coming to the Rep. We were extremely lucky to have gone to high school in a district that (at one time) funded Drama classes, that is not only where we met, but also where we fell deeply in love with theatre. We went on field trips to Seattle frequently and one of the shows we saw and loved was Servant. The over the top physicality and boisterous comedy spoke to us. Sometimes you need to escape into the lunacy of vaudevillian theatre, and that is exactly what happens during this production. The costumes, the twinkling lights that appear out of thin air, the detailed yet simple set that allows the imagination to take over completely, is theatre escapism at its best.
Stand out performances for us were, of course, Steven Epp as Truffaldino; the main character of the play charms the audience from beginning to end. His charisma is almost daunting, it appears that he never stops moving. Epp understands slapstick comedy like a Marx brother and illuminates the stage with a genuine energy. This is an actor that loves his job. Allen Gilmore delivered a joyous performance full of laughs as Pantalone, he rumbles around with a manic smile and sky high eyebrows that sometimes seem to have a mind of their own. Florindo, played by a steamy Jesse J. Perez, seduced us all night long with his gyrating moves that were reminiscent of Elvis himself.
Fall is, to me, the perfect time to go see a show. Especially in Seattle! Grey skies are looming, rain is right around the corner and everyone needs to get out and laugh. Go see The Servant of Two Masters, you will have a great time guaranteed.
by Chelsea Madsen