After Copenhagen, playwright Michael Frayn became associated with brainy, deep-thinking theatre, but twenty years ago, he was the madcap master of farce, demonstated in the soon-to-be Broadway-revived Noises Off and in Balmoral, closing at Seattle's Taproot Theatre Sept. 1. The comedy, directed by James Chapman, began performances Aug. 1.
In Balmoral, Frayn pictures a Communist revolution in England instead of Russia, turning the United Kingdom, circa 1937, upside down. A group of writers take up residence in Balmoral Castle, the Royal Family's summer home in Scotland, but run into trouble when an inspector general arrives to investigate a novelist's disappearance. As typical to farce, there are mistaken identities, disappearing furniture and a reappearing dead body to complicate the plot.
A novelist and playwright, Frayn's stage plays include The Two of Us, Donkeys’ Year, Alphabetical Order, Benefactors, Headlong and his greatest hits, the Tony-nominated Copenhagen and Noises Off.
Starring in Balmoral are Shawn Michael Law (Winn), Bill Higham (Deeping), Karen Nelson (Blyton), Nolan Palmer (McNab), Don Brady (Skinner), John Gonzalez (Kochetov) and Jesse Notehelfer (Trisha).
Designing Balmoral are Richard Lorig (sets), Mark Lund (sound), Nanette Acosta (costumes) and Jody Briggs (lighting). Jennifer A. Matthews is the stage manager. Tickets $17-$25. The Taproot Theatre is located at 204 North 85th Street in Seattle. For reservations, call (206) 781-9707. Taproot Theatre is on the web at http://www.taproottheatre.org.
— By Christine Ehren