Clothing is optional, but colorful characters and sassy one-liners are indispensable at the Godiva Inn in Rich Orloff’s hilarious play, “The Naked Truth.”

Rollicking laughter awaited Footlights Theatre patrons at the Maine premiere Friday night. Directed by Michael J. Tobin, the play stars Justin Gifford as the gay Godiva Inn clerk, Clark, and Leslie Chadbourne as the all-around handyman, Jane. After hours, Clark is a drag queen entertainer and Jane offers her services as a lesbian dominatrix named Mistress Dominique.

Gifford delivers his flamboyant role with tongue firmly planted in cheek, impishly answering the inn phone with a different greeting each time throughout the play. Amusing taglines include, “Godiva Inn, where every guest is barely dressed” or ” … where the thin and stout like to flesh it out” and ” … where people sin in nothing but skin.”

Like Clark, Jane is uninhibited. Her life is a self-proclaimed “open book” that Clark jokes is “bound in leather.” Chadbourne plays up the amusing quirks of the character, proudly sporting both a tool belt and bondage leather with an over-the-top flare that never fails to crack a smile, all the while stressing the importance of being true to yourself.

All comic hell breaks loose when a straight-laced couple, George (Jeffrey Gillenwater) and Liz (Cindy O’Neil), from Dayton, Ohio, inherit the inn following the death of George’s brother Roger. It’s culture-shock overload for George, who’s prudish about nudity and is accustomed to vanilla sex.

“He never speeds. He never passes without signaling,” Liz tells Jane about her sex life with George. “Between you and me, I’ve been praying for years for a pothole.”

To George’s chagrin, Liz decides to embrace the inn’s alternative lifestyle, opening the door for fun-filled misunderstandings and eye-opening realizations.

O’Neil and Gillenwater are a delight in their respective roles. Even dressed in prim and proper clothes, O’Neil has a devilish glint in her eyes that is a wonderful combination of curiosity and adventurous spirit. She dishes out her character’s witty lines with a degree of class that makes the ludicrous puns all the funnier.

Gillenwater has mastered the look of comic horror and disbelief, lending a stark contrast between George and the inn staff.

Tobin rounds out the cast, slipping out of his director’s chair into the role of Fred, the prospective buyer for the inn. He’s the cherry atop the slapstick comedy treat as his randy character lusts after Strawberry Fields, aka Clark in drag.

“The Naked Truth” is an outrageous comedy with an underlying message. It keeps the laughs coming with innuendo and absurd situations, but the real naked truth isn’t the play’s “rampant off-stage nudity.” Under the double entendres and witty repartee is a play about relationships and the importance of facing the naked truth of who we really are.

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. Contact her at:

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Twitter: @ahboyle