David Ives’ “The School for Lies” produced by Sound Theatre Company

The clever people at Sound Theatre have chosen to produce one of the marvelously witty works by one of my favorite contemporary playwrights, David Ives. Not every theatre company could pull it off, but this production directed by Teresa Thuman and Ken Michels has everything just right. If you are fond of intelligent theatre wrapped in bodacious humor, you’ll find it here.


Frank Lawler surrounded by three fops

“The School for Lies” is based loosely on Molière’s 17th C. romp, “The Misanthrope.” Here it’s presented on a glorious period set ( by Suzi Tucker) with massive royal blue satiny draperies, ivory and gold period furniture, and all the elegance of a bygone era. And, as Ives is fond of doing, it’s written in verse. Few contemporary playwrights could accomplish that, but Ives is a master at it. Using the most erudite vocabulary, he bombards his audience with clever lines and humorous rhymes.

The cast, decked out in sumptuous costumes by Linnaea Boone Wilson, prances and preens about as they flirt, misinform, misunderstand, connive, and appeal to the law. Early on, in comes the star, Frank Lawler as the honest man, the sane man, the man dressed in somber black surrounded by an assortment of fops, fools and two women (played deliciously by Page Byers and Marianna de Fazio) who each think he’s theirs.

The entire cast deserves praise, but I have to mention Dylan Smith, Paul Barrois and Corey Spruill who play the fops. With Betty Boop lips, fey gestures, phony lisps, and massive wigs whose curls they toss with appropriate righteousness, they light up the stage with their tom-foolery.

There are love triangles, and there’s jealous vindictiveness too. There are also splendid bits of physical humor. There’s so much to like in this production. If you are looking for summer fun, you’ll find it on stage at the Center Theatre.

Through August 24 at Center Theatre in The Armory at Seattle Center, Seattle, (www.soundtheatrecompany.org/buy-tickets/ or brownpapertickets.com/event661165

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