KITTERY — For those who relish zany comedy, “Sharp Dressed Men” offers a trilogy of bizarre and quirky dramas that follow a trio of brothers through a vortex of crazy comedy. The shows are currently running at Kittery’s Star Theater through Sunday, March 2.   

The “Sharp Dressed Men” trilogy follows three brothers, Tom, Henry and George, through three separate plays beginning with “From Now On” a bachelor party romp, “Sharp Dressed Men” a prenuptial dressing room panic, and “All the Rage,” featuring George’s wedding.  

The style of this comic marathon is somewhere between “Seinfeld” and “Monty Python.” All three plays are penned by local theater practitioner and truck driver G. Matthew Gaskell.

The project is an ambitious undertaking. Gaskell appears as brother Henry in all three plays and is seamlessly smooth as the fast-talking, conniving ringleader of the band of brothers.  

I, personally, only witnessed the middle play, “Sharp Dressed Men,” and this screwball comedy is a riot of all-out fraternal mayhem happening on the morning before the 11 a.m. wedding of their blustering and daffy father. Dad is played by Scott Caple. Although Dad does not appear until well into the chaos of Act II, his presence is large and delightfully obtuse.  

All seven characters in this theatrical romp are wacky, but there are degrees of wackiness and Brother Tom, played by Andy Fling, is the wackiest of the bunch. We first encounter Tom as he enters stage stone drunk from the prior evening’s bachelor party. Unable to walk without assistance, he stumbles and bumbles before collapsing on the floor. He then repeatedly submerges his entire head in a beer cooler filled with ice water.  

After a long bout of couch wrestling, Tom somehow manages to self inflict himself with a dry powder fire extinguisher, then faints. Tom has a habit of fainting at most inopportune moments, just one of his many personality quirks. Seeing Tom careening around the set in nothing but his Batman boxers is just a hint of the hilarity of the proceedings.  

Brother George, played by Christopher Savage, has the most challenging role in this brotherly bedlam. He appears at first to be a dimwitted dunce, preoccupied with the notion that his divorced wife, now living with another man, is just going through a phase of their marriage.   

George remains oblivious to the life-long love, affection and devotion of Rhonda, played passionately by Becky Rudolf. Rhonda has her own set of twisted tribulations and her inability to express her ardor for George results in her ludicrous, neurotic anxiety.

This comedy is eccentric and wild throughout, but author Gaskell’s most inventive piece of comedy is a four-way cell phone conversation of ridiculous inanity.

All three plays take place in the same church basement community room. It is an excellently crafted set, designed and realized by Dane E. Leeman and Geoffrey Dolan. The set becomes an animated play space for all the pranks and shenanigans that transpire as we await the wedding ceremony.  

The boys finally manage to don their silk bow ties, their spiffy satin lapeled jackets and their shiny patent leather shoes and they are, without a doubt, sharp dressed men. 

The Star Theater is located at 120 Rodgers Road, 1.5 miles east of the Kittery Traffic Circle on Route 236. Ticket prices range from $22 to $26. Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. “From Now On” plays on Feb. 20 and 28. “Sharp Dressed Men” plays on Feb. 21, 23 and March 1. “All The Rage” plays on Feb. 22, 27 and March 2. Tickets may be purchased online at www.Kitterycommunitycenter.org/star-theater or by calling 439-3800.

The Star Theater is a new and very well-appointed municipal theater space with 171 comfortable seats, excellent sight lights, a spacious lobby and art gallery, and a proficient lighting system. Stage Force, the producing organization of “Sharp Dressed Men,” also conducts a series of play readings at the Portsmouth Music Hall Loft and will be presenting the “Spring Awakening” musical at the Star Theater in the upcoming April and May. Complete information on Stage Force is available at www.Stageforce.org.

— Greg Morell, of Wells, is an arts reviewer for the Journal Tribune and a writer, producer and director of Antic Arts Center.



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