A&E

LVLT’s ‘Measure for Pleasure’ is a hilarious, bawdy good time

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Valerie Carpenter-Bernstein, left, and John Dolpies deliver the humorous goods for Las Vegas Little Theatre’s production of ‘Measure for Pleasure’.
Photo: Susannah Smitherman
Jacob Coakley

The Details

Measure for Pleasure
Three and a half stars
February 2-4, 8 p.m.; February 5, 2 p.m.; $10-$15
Las Vegas Little Theatre’s Fischer Black Box
3920 Schiff Dr., 362-7996

Experiencing Las Vegas Little Theatre’s Measure for Pleasure is like watching Oscar Wilde and Molière making catty, dirty commentary between French kisses—as they host the AVN awards.

Writer David Grimm’s plot is straight (and queer) sex farce: A delectable ingénue, target of both a young cad with a heart of gold and a lecherous old codger, is protected by a maiden aunt; the codger happens to be married to a shrew; and a wry servant comments on it all but has his own heartache—he’s in love with a maid who’s fallen for the young cad. Oh, and the maid’s a guy in drag, which the servant knows but the young cad doesn’t.

Follow any of that? It doesn’t matter. Like the BunnyRanch, the setup is just there to offer you what you want in as many different ways as possible; straight and gay jokes, bad puns, physical humor, awkward situations and meta references to the artifice of the piece work together for a truly hysterical performance. This abundance works, but sometimes the cast gets carried away, over-selling one joke at the expense of the next, losing reality in the process. Reality? Yes, there needs to be one, or the tender moments don’t land as powerfully as they should.

Drew Yonemori is touching and funny as wry servant Will Blunt. John Dolpies, as his lover Molly Tawdry, gives a funny but incomplete performance, never completely lifting his character’s motivations beyond plot fodder. Still, he inhabits the role with zest and commits to some scandalous behavior with true aplomb. Troy Tinker is a truly hissworthy villain as Lord Lustforth, and Christin Schreiber rocks the stunning dress costume designer Penni Mendez clothes her in, but has a harder time balancing the sex appeal with the cunning side of her character.

Surprisingly, in the end, for all its scandalous wrapping, Measure for Pleasure is a very heteronormative play, with everyone coupled off in wedded bliss. It’s a sweet ending, but the emotional sparks don’t quite live up to the fireworks the show’s humor ignites.

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