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Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

Review: ‘Love, Sex, & IRS’ very funny farce

KARI GALL/for the independent

Sometimes I walk into a show knowing everything about it, hoping it’s as good as I envision in my mind. Other times I don’t know a stitch about the show except the title. This is one of those shows.

I recently attended a play put on by Van Wert Civic Theatre called Love, Sex, and the IRS, written by William Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. I know what you’re thinking: “What do love and sex have to do with taxes and the IRS?” Well, let me set the tone for you. Jon and Leslie (both males) are struggling musicians sharing an apartment in Manhattan. To save money, Jon comes up with the brainy scheme of filing his taxes on his own, and files his claim as “married.” To Leslie. Jon and Leslie get audited, and in the midst of evading the taxman, the men end up on a whirlwind adventure of mistaken identity, cross dressing, and drunken hijinks.

Cast members of Van Wert Civic Theatre’s current play, Love, Sex, & the IRS, shown here include Jan Miller (seated) and (standing, from the left) Stan Lippi, Steve Lane, and Audra Mohler.VWCT photo

A farce like this takes a skilled director and a cast that can swing a punch and hold back the giggles. And that they do. Director Randy Wieging has assembled an energetic cast. Doug Grooms seems to effortlessly portray the part of Jon Trachtman, whose brainy scheme got them into this mess in the first place. Full of energy and always on top of his cue, Doug nails the part of Jon, making you wonder if he must always be thinking “a plan so crazy, it just might work!”

And who can’t forget the other half of this duo: Steve Lane, who plays the part of Leslie Arthur. Steve is no novice to the theatre. You can’t help but get the sensation that Leslie is a real person, not a character in a play. Steve allows his character to completely engulf him, cold cream face mask, feather boa, and all.

Amy McConn and Jan Miller play the parts of Kate Dennis (Jon’s fiancée) and Vivian Trachtman (Jon’s mother), respectively. These two ladies are all over the stage in bouts of flourishing, and sometimes physical, comedy. These women are great counterparts to the leading men on stage and definitely hold their own. Kudos to both.

We must not leave out Mr. Taxman himself, Floyd Spinner. Mr. Spinner is hilariously played by Chad Kraner. Try to picture a grown-up version of Stuart from “Saturday Night Live”. Chad had me laughing out loud through the entire show with his zany one-liners and outlandish physical comedy, never missing a beat. Whether groping Ms. McConn, being caressed by the feet of Ms. Miller, or fighting off suspecting Jehovah Witnesses at the front door, Mr. Kraner was at the top of his game. Well done!

Bravo to the rest of the supporting cast: Stan Lippi, Audra Mohler, and Trent Gossett. All actors made their characters their own, and I’m sure a fun time was had by all. You do not want to miss this show!

You still have several chances to catch this one-of-a-kind production at the Van Wert Civic Theatre. There are still performances this week. May 10, 11, and 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 13, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $13. Area residents can reserve tickets by calling the VWCT box office at 419.238.9689.

POSTED: 05/07/18 at 7:47 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News