'Not Now, Darling' provides big laughs at Hedgerow Theatre

Zoran Kovcic is appearing in his 11th Cooney farce; Rebecca Cureton in her second. They are currently performing in Not Now, Darling through Aug. 12 at Hedgerow Theatre.

Eleven may not be considered a lucky, or even an unlucky, number, but for Hedgerow Theatre, it's 11th annual Ray Cooney farce, entitled Not Now, Darling, is sure to be a smashing success. Excellently directed by Jared Reed, Hedgerow's new associate artistic director, the show centers around Gilbert Bodley, the co-owner of an upscale London fur salon. With his wife out of town on holiday, Bodley has his mind set on a fling with a younger woman, Janie McMichael (who, incidentally is also married). In order to seal the deal, so to speak, Bodley decides to give Janie a superb mink coat. The catch, her cheap husband would be suspicious if Janie suddenly appeared with an expensive coat. So Bodley enlists the help of his unwilling business partner, Arnold Crouch. The plan is to sell Mr. McMichael the $5,000 coat for only $500. Things go wrong, however, when Mr. McMichael refuses to buy the mink. From there, the show has more twists and turns than a country back road and the laughs are almost nonstop.

Not Now, Darling features a wonderfully talented cast, more than capable of delivering the comedic madness needed to make the show successful. John Smitherman is a charming rogue as Gilbert Bodley. His interactions with Zoran Kovcic's Arnold Crouch are hilarious as he efficiently (and comedically) bullies Arnold into going along with the plan. Kovcic essentially plays the straight man; he has higher morals than Bodley and although he attempts to talk Bodley out of cheating on his wife, Arnold is unsuccessful and quickly gets pulled into the action. Eventually, Arnold embraces his role in Bodley's affair and Kovcic plays that with as much humor as he does the reluctant Arnold.

Rebecca Cureton is terrific as Janie McMichael. Her matter of fact performance and sneaky antics are very funny and her calm demeanor is a nice contrast to Kovcic's frantic energy. Dave Polgar plays blustery Harry McMichael excellently. McMichael is clearly hot tempered, which Polgar plays perfectly. Susan Wefel also shines as Gilbert's wife, Maude, who unexpectedly returns, adding to the chaos and causing the lies to mount.

Mahogany Walker as Miss Tipdale (Arnold's love interest), Lauren Thomas as Sue Lawson (McMichael's mistress), Jonny Long as Mr. Lawson and Sue Tiedeck and Jim Conte as Mr. and Mrs. Frencham, complete the cast.

Cathie Miglionico's costumes included two gorgeous coats and several beautiful dresses. Kovcic's set was classy, the perfect set up for all the comic misdeeds.

Not Now, Darling runs through Aug. 12 at Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Road, Rose Valley. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Wednesday matinees are 2 p.m. July 18 and Aug. 8. Tickets are $32 Friday-Sunday, $29 Thursdays and $25 Wednesdays. Tickets for students (with valid ID) and children under 18 are $10 and seniors receive a $3 discount. For tickets or information, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.hedgerowtheatre.org.

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