ALHAMBRA THEATRE AND DINING REVIEW
The Alhambra Dinner Theatre is staging “Love, Sex and the IRS,” a farce that plays out at whirlwind speed. It opened on September 30, 2020 and will remain through October 18, to be followed by “Footloose” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The play, written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, debuted in 1979, delivers non-stop laughs for two hours, and remains one of the comic greats.
The setting is a large two-story apartment in New York, which at today’s prices would probably cost at least $3,000 dollars a month to rent. Two struggling musicians share this bachelor pad and they’re not wealthy. Furnishings include thrift store purchases and a cinder-block bookcase.
The story itself is rather simple. Several years ago, Jon Trachtman (portrayed by tall handsome Sam Stroll) offered to help his friend and roommate Leslie Arthur (Joey Swift) with his taxes. Then Jon, unknown to Leslie, reported they were married on his tax return and continues to enjoy receiving big annual tax refunds. What could possibly go wrong?
An unexpected visit from a suspicious taxman instills fears and requires drastic evasive action. Jon’s lovely girlfriend Kate (Ellie Roddy) could perhaps appear as his wife, but Jon says this won’t work – Kate doesn’t have any identity documentation and her appearance as his wife wouldn’t be convincing. No, Jon insists that the only solution is for Leslie to appear as his wife and he reluctantly agrees. However, even with a dress, heels, and wig, Leslie is more of a pouter than a charmer (and in Swift’s rendering is very very funny).
IRS agent Floyd Spinner (Dan Kelly, in a splendid portrayal) is an older married guy who enjoys drinking a lot. And playing around a lot.
Vivian, Jon’s interfering motor mouthed mother arrives unexpectedly, in a drunken state, to put in an opinion. The lady is portrayed by Katie Nettle, well known to Alhambra audiences for her past appearances in fifteen musicals. She is both a lovely singer and a very funny comedian.
Three additional characters completed the cast. Leslie’s fiancée Connie was portrayed by Victoria Jackson who was last seen in the Alhambra’s production of “Grease.” Jon D. Cohen appeared as Mr. Jansen, a landlord with strict rules (no unmarried couples allowed). He has had a long career at this theatre (twenty-five past productions). Rendell DeBose is a veteran actor and makes a brief entrance as the hustler/preacher Arnold.
Director Tod Booth has almost sixty years in this business; he has been directing and producing in Jacksonville for thirty-six years. He has brought together a talented cast and is obviously enjoying producing this show. All but one of the cast members had previously appeared on this stage; this appearance is Ellie Roddy’s debut.
The production staff included David Dionne & Ian Black, Stage Design; Paige Wilsey, Stage Manager; Camala Pitts & Dorinda Quiles; and Patti Eyler, Costume Design.
The lavish menu offers choices that include chicken roasted with rosemary, rigatoni with shrimp and sausage, slow-smoked pork, and spicy yellow curry. We liked the chicken, which included polenta and roasted Brussels sprouts.
The theatre is located at 12000 Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida. Call early for reservations for upcoming productions, as seating is restricted in compliance with current public health care precautions. Visit alhambrajax.com or call 904-641-1212 for tickets and additional information.