WEST HARTFORD — I’m late to the pleasures of Playhouse on Park, a relatively new professional theatre company now celebrating five years in West Hartford. With its cozy ambience, welcoming staff and intimate stage (there truly isn’t a bad seat in the house), Playhouse on Park is a welcome addition to the busy Connecticut theatre scene. They are currently in production with a revival of Ken Ludwig’s middling farce, “Lend Me A Tenor,” which is leaving ‘em laughing in West Hartford.
Set in a Cleveland hotel in the 1930s, “Lend Me a Tenor” concerns a local opera company that is sponsoring the appearance of world famous Italian superstar Tito Merelli (a terrific Robert Wilde). Tito arrives with a jealous wife in tow (Ashley Ford, priceless) and a marriage clearly on the rocks. Add into the mix a sexy soprano, a scheming impresario, his opera-loving assistant, a grand society matron and a pushy bellhop, and the elements of classic farce take hold. Or do they? Unlike “Noises Off,” of which all contemporary farces have the misfortune of now being compared, “Lend Me A Tenor” is funny only in fits and starts. The basic premise of two opera singers in black face and fright wigs (the opera being performed is “Otello”) who are mistaken for one another by all the wrong people, never really delivers the full comic punch it promises.