- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer
Things haven’t changed all that much since Hotel Paradiso opened in Paris in 1894.
People are still people and a nice little fling at a local hotel still happens. Mind you, in Paris in the 1890s things were a lot more elegant, or at least more complicated. You could have an assignation, but it had to be disguised and lied about.
It’s just those lies, comic and frantic, that make Hotel Paradiso, the farce by Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desalavallieres so delicious. That, and the set design of Jazmin Lopez, which manages to fit a living room with an important fire escape and a hotel with two bedrooms and plenty of doors, into the small confines of the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. Just watching the crew change the scenes for each of the three acts is an education in itself, and the Group Rep which presents this play must have had plenty of courage to produce it at all. It is terrifically funny, but also scenically difficult.
The story is simple: Benedict Boniface (Van Boudreaux) wants to have a fling with his neighbor’s wife, Marcelle Cot (the lovely Gina Yates,) whose husband Henri Cot (Mark Atha) has been very neglectful of his wife. The two book a room in the Hotel Paradiso for the evening, but there are ghosts, a nephew and his paramour, and a visiting man with three young daughters. Every door is slammed, every secret is misunderstood and hilarity results.
Director Drina Durazo moves things a little slow, and the scene changes take a while, so the play is longer than 2 –and-one-half hours, but it is a delightful chance to see a farce often forgotten, one that should be as famous as A Flea in Her Ear.
Tickets are $22, $17 for students and seniors, $15 for groups of 10 or more. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through August 11.