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Review: Lake City Playhouse’s ‘Lend Me a Tenor’ predictable but full of laughs

Lake City Playhouse’s production of Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor” is true to the farce it is. There are plenty of mix-ups, humorous antics and slamming doors. The script is thin on substance, but some laughs are guaranteed.

Max, played by Steven M. Anderson, is an insecure fellow charged with managing a famous Italian singer who is arriving in Cleveland to perform with the opera. He is in love with Maggie (Alyssa Herzinger), but she wants to have a fling before settling down.

Ricardo Rivera is larger than life and hilarious as the Italian tenor, Tito. His wife, Maria, played by Trigger Weddle, is well-matched, with plenty of Italian attitude as she uses every word and movement to her character’s advantage.

When Tito takes too much medicine and dies, Max must fill in as tenor to save the producer Henry Saunders (Dave Rideout) from losing money. What follows is a series of mistaken identities.

Rideout is appropriately blustery as Maggie’s father and Max’s boss, and even his raised eyebrow garners a laugh. Brandon Montag is delightfully over the top as the hotel bellhop. Hannah Paton, as opera diva Diana, and Monica Thomas, as opera president Julia, round out the cast.

Director Todd Jasmin employs every traditional element of farce the script calls for, from chases around the couch to people hiding in closets to people falling unconscious. And, of course, at some point, someone strips down to their undergarments.

The action is sharp and well-timed for the most part, which is essential for a comedy like this. The actors’ movements also are well-staged.

Naturally, there are a few plot twists, predictable yet fun, which is enough to leave the audience smiling and chase away the cold weather.