by TOM WELCH
Special to the Sounder
Prescription for a winter evening on Orcas Island: “Hot Bed Hotel,” Doug Bechtel’s latest offering on stage at the Grange.
New seats that are probably more comfortable than your couch offer plenty of leg room to thrash about as you try to control yourself during this comedic farce written by Michael Parker and staged by the Actor’s Theater of Orcas Island.
The laughs didn’t always come in the right places, mostly because some in the audience got a case of the giggles that wouldn’t let up, but everyone enjoyed it immensely.
Gillian Smith and Nate Feder are the hotel owners who are more than a bit desperate to sell the hotel, and each played their part to the hilt. Smith is particularly effective in her role. Vanessa Ryder is a pure delight as the ditzy Maureen, the receptionist/maid/room service waitress, while Larry Coddington’s role as Hopkins the maintenance man gives new meaning to the word “inebriation.”
Pat Ayers did a fine job as Ashley, while Tom Gossett nicely filled his role as Sam, the potential buyer of the hotel. John Mazzarella plays the Major, when he isn’t playing the Arab Shiekh, pulling off both roles with his usual excellence.
Patty Monaco is Dorothy, who definitely didn’t come over the rainbow. She wields an umbrella very nicely, batting somewhere around 500 while beating up all the men within reach. Monaco is, as always, delightful.
If you look in the dictionary under “vamp” you’ll see Suzanne Gropper’s picture. At least, you should … Gropper is the deadly Hayley, Terrifier of Men and definer of the “Hot Bed Hotel.” She is liberal with her affections, to put it mildly, and carries off her role with her usual sublime style and wit.
A wonderful set places us perfectly at the small, beachfront hotel while allowing the madcap goings to and fro seem wholly believable. Cele Westlake does her usual fine job with Bechtel’s light and sound, and the crew assists this fine cast in every way.
Bechtel’s ability to direct this rollicking nuthouse is amazing in itself, but also what we’ve all come to expect of this wizard in our midst. This is a funny, funny play that will ease your winter doldrums very nicely.
“Hot Bed Hotel” is playing at The Grange Feb. 22, 23, March 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at Darvill’s, at www.orcasactors.com, or at the door.