Sunday, April 2, 2017

Silly. Goofy. Fun: 'Nain Rouge' at Slipstream

After a handful of more serious fare, Ferndale's Slipstream Theatre Initiative jumps into spring with Nain Rouge, a delightfully wacky French farce (with a Detroit twist). It's the night of a popular Detroit festival, and many of Slipstream's most popular performers join in the comings and goings at a hotel owned by the lovely, yet quirky Marguerite Lamerthier (Luna Alexander), whose suitors are just as daffy as she is. The same applies to her staff and other visitors as well, all of whom cross paths on this rather unusual night of celebration, romance and intrigue.

Director Bailey Boudreau's adaptation of La Mi-Careme contains all of the usual tropes one would expect of a farce - from improbable situations to horseplay, and stereotypes to exaggeration, with a bit of naughtiness tossed in to keep things interesting - and his merry gang of mirth makers are at their finest bringing them to life.

Memorable characters and moments are a plenty - a running gag about the doorbell is especially well conceived and executed - and to highlight a few does a disservice to the entire cast. However, Alexander's very physical and sexy Marguerite, Ryan Ernst's self-absorbed Boislambert, Steve Xander Carson's two-headed Baron de Moranchet, and Jackson Abohasira's ability to play "Everyone Else" with a certain "wink-wink, nod-nod, we all know it's the same guy underneath the costume" all deserve acknowledgement.

But it's Mandy Logsdon who truly stands out. Every entrance she makes as Madame Paponnet (of the Grosse Point Park Paponnets) sucks the air out of the room, and she makes the most of it. (An improvised conversation upon her initial entrance with audience member Mary of St. Clair Shores set the tone for what became a truly wonderful performance.)

And yes, there is some audience participation in the show (Amy Cassell as Mitaine works the room quite well); and there is even a raffle, so bring a few bucks to have a chance at winning season tickets.

The Bottom Line: So while Shakespeare this ain't, Nain Rouge is a highly entertaining and very creative night at the theater that will leave a smile on your face for hours afterward.

Nain Rouge runs through April 16. Performance details can be found here.

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