Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby
Sexy senior citizens. Now, there’s a theme that threatens to both entertain and intrigue, and does both in Flint Community Players’ production of Katherine DiSavino’s farce, Nana’s Naughty Knickers. Yep, it’s just what it sounds like – a fairly fast-paced comic tale complete with saucy grannies, an apartment fit for a bootlegger, and one uptight yet shocked youngster determined to save the day.
Taylor Boes is the youngster, Bridget, who has come to New York City to stay the summer with her grandmother before beginning law school. She arrives accompanied by a friendly NYPD cop carrying her moving boxes and complaining that she will have to move her car soon.
Alex Weiss is the somewhat bumbling Officer Tom, clearly smitten with Bridget and reluctant to anger her with a parking ticket. He offers to help put the boxes away, but is interrupted as Sylvia (Ann Oravetz) returns home and stops him. She is dressed in running gear and pushing a walker stolen from her crony Vera (Karla Froehlich) to encourage her to keep pace.
These two old gals are the heart of the show. Their repartee and constant rule breaking (Bloody Mary’s before noon) set the stage for comedy, at least among the senior set. Froehlich uses the ear horn in great comic form and is always spot on with her wit and characterization.
Oravetz is a little slow now and then as she strives to be both grandmotherly and business hip. It seems that Sylvia has been staying busy crafting, designing and actually sewing sexy lingerie for her contemporaries. And she’s kept it a pretty good secret – even Vera didn’t know about it – until one of the secret stash spots is accidentally revealed.
Designer Russell VanHorn is to be congratulated for this clever and surprisingly well camouflaged set. We won’t spoil the fun by revealing exactly what is hidden where, but we will say it was a lot of fun to see these caches uncovered, not to mention what they contained.
Sylvia’s business has been a secret from lots of folks including her landlord, Mr. Schmidt (Bruce Gooding) who would love to find a reason to raise her very low rent, and from the U.S. government – a fact that throws her law school granddaughter into apoplexy.
The great reveal happens accidentally when shipments to Sylvia’s business – Saucy Slips Etc. – are sent to another address – Saucy Lips Etc – think Fredericks of Hollywood on major steroids – and Heather Van Pree (Janet McClanahan) shows up to retrieve their togs and toys.
It all might come crashing down on Sylvia if not for the arrival of a modern day Lysistrata, Mr. Schmidt’s wife Clare (Gayle Barthel). We’ll let you see how that plays out yourself.
Director Sam Di Vita’s cast is up to the challenge here, if a bit slow on the uptake now and then. The show moved along at Thursday’s opening and the somewhat sparse house seemed to enjoy it. This is a cute show with some good laugh lines, but some spots would benefit from a tad more energy.
Nana’s Naughty Knickers continues March 4, 5, 11 & 12 at 7:30 pm and March 6 & 13 at 2:30 pm in the Tom & Bea Nobles Performance Hall, 2462 S. Ballenger Hwy. Flint, MI 48507. For more information and tickets call the box office at 810-441-9302 or find them online at www.flintcommunityplayers.com