The setting is
19th century San Francisco, and a wealthy man seems to be dying. At
least that’s what his lawyer, accountant, and an old miser believe.
And they believe that they can persuade him to name one of them as
his sole heir – if they just give him enough gifts. But Foxwell J.
Sly is a con man who is not remotely close to dying, and that’s the
setting for a this delightful comedy. It was written by Larry
Gelbart (of MASH fame), and based on the 1606 play,
Volpone by Ben Jonson.
This production is
wonderfully entertaining in the intimate environment of Sutter
Street Theatre. The writing is witty throughout, but more than that,
it is genuinely funny, and the opening night audience were laughing
throughout the show. One would have to call this a farce because the
characters were so exaggerated – like so many in Charles Dickens’
novels –but they were brought to life by some outstanding comic
acting – truly among the best I’ve seen – with brilliant timing and
clever touches from the director. Much of the humor is what might be
called “adult,” so it’s not the kind of thing I’d take my
grandchildren to see. But for myself, I wouldn’t have missed it: it
was great fun.