PORTLAND — The deadline for filing taxes is only three days away. It’s a stressful time for many.

But at the Old Port Playhouse, tax time has never been more fun. “Love, Sex, and the I.R.S.” makes even the idea of being audited sound like a rip-roaring good time.

The play, written by William Van Zandt and Jane Milmore in 1979, has a “Three’s Company” feel to it.

There’s a nosy super (Mr. Jansen), played with over-the-top glee by David Branch, who insists that cohabiting tenants of the opposite sex be married.

And like the “Three’s Company” gang, the characters’ shenanigans get them into a delightful heap of laugh-out-loud trouble.

Rather than two girls and a guy, however, this farce centers on two guys and a girl.

Kate Dennis (Deirdre Fulton) is engaged to marry Jon Trachtman (Christian F. Luening) in two weeks. But for the last week, she’s been having an affair with his best friend and roommate, Leslie Arthur (Caleb Wilson).

Neither has mustered the courage to tell Jon about the affair, and there are several funny episodes of Leslie spasmodically sputtering and spitting whenever he tries to come clean and tell Jon the truth.

The real fun, though, comes when Jon gets a call from tax auditor Floyd Spinner (Jamie Schwartz).

Unbeknownst to Leslie, Jon, who does their taxes, has been committing tax fraud for the past four years by changing Leslie’s sex to female and their filing status to married.

That’s when comic hell breaks loose. Jon devises a scheme to dress Leslie up as a woman to fool Mr. Spinner and has Kate bring by some of her stuff to make the place look like a woman lives there.

The plan works until Jon, trying to butter up Mr. Spinner, invites him to stay for dinner and begins plying him with liquor. Not wanting to go home to his wife, Mr. Spinner accepts and becomes increasingly drunk. Schwartz is a definite scene-stealer as the intoxicated nerd.

It’s a madcap comedy of nonstop laughs as Leslie, who can’t cook, attempts to make mung-chowder gumbo, all the while dressed in drag.

Wilson is a riot, sporting a bad makeup job and wig, an overstuffed bra and hideous dresses, ultimately stripping down to nylon stockings, pulled tight over a pair of boxers.

Meanwhile, Kate shows up, leading Mr. Spinner to think she is Jon’s mistress; Mr. Jansen stops by unannounced, convinced there’s a woman living in the apartment; Jon’s mother, Vivian (Leslie Trentalange), who has met neither Leslie nor Kate, shows up unexpectedly to help with Jon’s wedding; and Leslie’s vapid girlfriend, Connie (Sara Janelle), comes by to find out why Leslie is breaking up with her.

Leslie ends up on the ledge of the fifth-story apartment to avoid Mr. Jansen; Jon’s mother is convinced he is living in sin with an ugly woman; and Connie thinks that Leslie has a fetish for women’s clothing and is about to be committed to a mental institution. And those are just some of the comic scenes in this outrageous production.

Director Jeff Wax has assembled a thoroughly entertaining cast who will clearly do and say anything to keep the audience laughing. And they succeed! 

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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