Running through November 19, Joy Cutler’s Pardon My Invasion continues a rich traditional of fun theater at Plays and Players. Tucked away on the quiet residential Delancey Street a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, Plays and Players was organized by Mrs. Otis Skinner in 1911 as a “Little Theater” to fill the void left when larger productions moved on to the more cosmopolitan allure of New York City. This year marks the theater’s 100th anniversary season. Today it is one of the leading small companies in town, and its two stages host some of the city’s top independent troupes.
In recent years, Plays and Players has focused on theatrical fun, staging a joyously over-the-top version of Shakespeare’s bloody Titus Andronicus and the-name-says-it-all Zombie: The Musical! The theater has proven adept at finding and working with up-and-coming playwrights to produce a solid run of fun new works in its smaller upstairs space. Last year’s Simulations was impressive; the world premier of Pardon My Invasion, now on stage, is thoroughly entertaining.
Joy Cutler’s new play is great comedy. The characters are outrageous (an in-character detective-novel author, a curvaceous femme fatale, a brilliantly spoofed sergeant, and a hornball soldier trapped in the body of a teenage girl, to name a few). The directing, acting, and stage design is all high quality. But like the best comedies, Pardon My Invasion has serious underlying messages (and those are often best communicated through laughter), among them that the stress of war affects the home front, just as the pull of work can disrupt family life.
Check out this fun play and come back to Plays and Players over the course of the season as it prepares other fitting tributes to 100 years of theatrical productions. See PlaysandPlayers.org for more information.
Pardon My Invasion runs through November 19 at Plays and Players, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. Tickets 1-800-595-4849 or PlaysandPlayers.org.