Review: Arctic Playhouse Delivers Strong 'Bedroom Farce'

by Joe Siegel

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday March 16, 2023

Cherylee Dumas and Mark Lima in "Bedroom Farce"
Cherylee Dumas and Mark Lima in "Bedroom Farce"  (Source:Arctic Playhouse)

"Bedroom Farce," which is now being performed at Arctic Playhouse, delivers what it promises: Lots of good-natured silliness courtesy of a confident group of actors.

Playwright Alan Ayckbourn showcases the relationships of four couples on one especially eventful night. Ernest (Mark Lima) is a pompous clod who obsesses over a leaking roof. His marriage to Delia (Cherylee Dumas) is relatively passionless.

The couple's son, Trevor (Tom Lavallee), is in a troubled marriage with Susannah (Kaelynn Boss), who wallows in self-pity.

Things get really complicated when Trevor and Susannah attend a party at the home of Malcolm (Michael Pugliese) and Kate (Emily McCarthy), who delight in playing tricks on each other. Malcolm hides Kate's shoes under a pillow. Kate puts a frying pan in the bed.

Trevor had an affair with Jan (Ariana Pacheco), who is now married to Nick (Bill Cabrera). Nick has a bad back and spends much of the time in bed. Cabrera ("Miracle On 34th Street") gets a lot of laughs as Nick falls out of bed while trying to reach a book he dropped. It's a perfect bit of slapstick which is repeated when Jan lifts him back onto the bed, with disastrous consequences.

Malcolm spends the nighttime building a table for Kate to demonstrate his commitment to her. The end result falls short of greatness, of course, due to Malcolm's lack of attention to detail.

Pugliese and McCarthy deftly show the tensions simmering beneath the surface of Malcolm and Kate as they attempt to reach an understanding.

Lavallee ("Assassins") is lovably charming as the befuddled Trevor, never knowing what words to use to patch up his shaky relationship with Susannah.

Boss ("Nine to Five: The Musical") proves to be a skilled comedienne, and her exchanges with Lavallee are heartfelt and convincing.

Director Karen Besson deftly shifts the action from one bedroom to another (the set design by John Braica and Bob Gerold features three bedrooms all together onstage) as the characters navigate the marital turmoil.

Ayckbourn, who wrote "Bedroom Farce" in 1975, eschews madcap humor for more astute observations about human behavior. What he is saying basically is that any couple (gay or straight) is going to experience problems after a while.

For example, Ernest eats kippers in bed, an act which irritates Delia. The way Delia rotates her head as a nighttime ritual is a funny recurring gag.

Nick's jealousy is inflamed when Jan reveals she saw Trevor at Malcolm and Kate's party. He pointedly asks her to determine who was a better lover. Jan realizes any answer she provides will end up hurting someone.

With all their quirks and imperfections, these characters were relatable and their pratfalls and histrionics added up to an entertaining night at the theater.

"Bedroom Farce" runs through March 26. The Arctic Playhouse. 1249 Main Street, West Warwick, RI. For tickets, call 401-573-3443 or visit

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.