Peggy Sue Dunigan

At the Sunsent Playhouse, taxes can be funny

By - May 3rd, 2011 04:00 am
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The Sunset’s Skocir, Zembrowski and Quinn, in “Sex, Lies and the IRS.” Sunset Playhouse photo.

Tax season ended for most people a couple of weeks ago. Everyone prays they will never be audited afterwards. Sunset Playhouse revisits the tension and turmoil associated with an audit in Love, Sex and the IRS, which opened last weekend (April 29) to a full house.

Guest Director Brian Zelinski claims an affinity for the comedies of William Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, who have written more than 20 frequently produced plays. The couple, now married, started the string with Love, Sex and the IRS, a farce from 1979. The show’s physical comedy and quick-paced dialogue recall the timeless I Love Lucy or Carol Burnett Show humor audiences adore. And, as the playwright couple have noted, the word “sex” in the title always seems to help ticket sales.

In this story, two bachelor buddies, Jon (Bryan Quinn) and Leslie (Matt Zembrowski), file their taxes as a married couple to save money. They think they’ll get away with it because the name Leslie is androgynous. IRS auditor Floyd Spinner (Michael Skocir) discovers that Leslie previously filed taxes as a male and pursues Jon for tax fraud. Leslie cross-dresses to continue the deception, which leads to further deception and plot twists. (How does Leslie explain checking M on earlier returns? What — M doesn’t stand for mother?)

Jon’s actual fiancé, Kate (the lovely Nasreen Ameri), assists in the marital coverup. One complication bumbles into another, and clever one liners, mistaken identities and hilarious results ensue.

The physical humor in this play can be tricky to realize on stage. Debut Sunset actor Quinn finds a comfortable energy with his “wife” Matt Zembrowski, who transforms into a “fascinating woman” with red hair. Skocir’s Floyd plays his scenes as an inebriated IRS man with aplomb and earns several hard knocks to the head. The female counterpoint, Ameri, adds the sparkling zest to this zany cast and helps to pull together a completely entertaining evening.

The play is about taxes, but the way it tickles the funnybone offers an evening of true tax relief.

Love, Sex and the IRS runs through May 28 at the Sunset Playhouse, in Elm Grove. Tickets are $10-$20, depending on seating, performance day and student/senior status. Order by clicking here or call  262 782-4430.

Categories: A/C Feature 3, Theater

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