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Actors Comedy Lab will present Sorry! Wrong Chimney! — a 1989 Yuletide farce written by Jack Sharkey and Leo W. Sears and directed by ACL co-founder Rod Rich — Dec. 12-21 on the main stage of North Carolina State University's Thompson Theatre. Needless to say — given Actors Comedy Lab's reputation for producing offbeat contemporary comedies — this show is a decidedly offbeat comedy set during the Christmas season.
"In this rollicking and fast-moving farce," ACL's preshow publicity notes, "it's 10 days before Christmas and newlywed David Tuttle [Seth Blum] has been secretly moonlighting as a department store Santa to buy his wife, Samantha [Rebecca Blum], a special Christmas present. But Sam starts to worry that he's having an affair with their neighbor, Natalie Weldon [Amy Flynn], and the complications start to pile up when Samantha persuades Natalie's psychiatrist husband William [David McClutchey] to use hypnosis to resolve the problem.
"Add to the mix a bumbling burglar in a Santa suit named Kris Kreigle [Tony Hefner], his gun-toting girlfriend Sheila [Donna Sullivan-Khouri], and a very confused policeman [Scott Nagle], and pretty soon everybody thinks they're someone they're not! Put this hilarious little gem on your shopping list this Christmas!" ACL entreats.
Besides director Rod Rich, who doubles as the show's sound designer, the production team for Sorry! Wrong Chimney! includes technical director and scenic designer Thomas Mauney, lighting designer Jeff Besselman, and costume designers Nancy Rich and Bunny Safron. (Rod Rich's wife, Nancy, and Bunny and Jack Safron are the other three co-founders of Raleigh, NC-based Actors Comedy Lab.)
"The story revolves around hypnosis and the wrong people being hypnotized," notes Anna Wentworth of The Roanoke Times. "Samantha Tuttle... is concerned because her husband, David, never seems to have time for her any more and is always working. David... is in fact working nights as a store Santa to get extra money to buy Sam a fur stole. Their neighbors are Natalie and William Weldon....
"When Sam invites William over to her apartment," Wentworth writes, "he thinks she is interested in him, but she soon dispels that idea. She wants William to hypnotize David to be in love with her again. When a burglar, dressed as Santa, comes into the apartment, William thinks it is David in his store Santa outfit and hypnotizes him to love Sam. Of course, this causes complications, especially when the real David shows up as well as the Santa's fiancée, Sheila."
Frank Roberts of The Virginian Pilot claims, "Sorry! Wrong Chimney!... is the world's umpty-umpth bedroom farce, so it's no surprise that it involves a young couple, each partner suspecting the other of fooling around.
"Before the couple straightens things out," Roberts writes, "the audience is treated to some very funny lines, a lot of wonderful physical action, doors opening, then bamming shut, and everybody mixed up about everything."
Actors Comedy Lab presents Sorry! Wrong Chimney! Friday-Saturday, Dec. 12-13, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 17-20, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 21, at 3 p.m. on the Main Stage of North Carolina State University's Thompson Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina. $12 Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and $15 Friday and Saturday. 919/515-1100. http://www.actorscomedylab.com/next.html.