The cast of “Move Over Mrs. Markham.” Alex Guzman (left), Leigh Ellen Akin, Jill Drexler, Christopher Szabo, Adam Daniel, John DeCarlo. Photo Credit: Ken Jacques

Not everyone loves farce. It can be silly and goofy and, as required, filled with slamming doors.

But when it’s done right, as at Scripps Ranch Theatre, under the crackerjack direction of Francis Gercke, it’s downright uproarious.

The wild 1969 comedy, written by English actor/writers Ray Cooney and John Chapman, is set in the top-floor London flat of Mr. and Mrs. Markham. What starts out as a somewhat quiet evening before a stodgy dinner engagement, turns into a never-ending onslaught of plans and counter-plans, deceits, fabrications, subterfuge, undressings and mistaken identities.

Prancing in and out of the living room and bedroom, slamming doors and hiding behind curtains comes a bona fide horde of the horny: a bevy of people of varied class, proclivity and marital status, trying to arrange an assignation in the posh apartment while the residents are out. The oval bed may get a hypothetical workout, but is anyone going to consummate anything? Ay, there’s the (funnybone) rub.

It takes a long time to introduce the nine wackadoodle characters and set up the situation of mass (but deftly controlled) confusion. By Act 2, you will be rolling in the aisles and laughing till you cry.

The cast is terrific; each actor has moments of superb comic business and physicality. The timing is impeccable, a must for good farce. You couldn’t ask for a funnier ensemble, or a second act with more sustained hilariousness.

The set (Alyssa Kane) and costumes (Pam Stompoly-Ericson) are delectable. Love that Mondrian wall.

Don’t dawdle or dither. You have to hurry to see this (and you should). It closes on June 30.

  • “Move Over, Mrs. Markham” runs through June 30 at Scripps Ranch Theatre, in the Legler Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant University, 9783 Avenue of Nations
  • Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
  • Tickets ($15-$37) are available at 858-578-7728 or online at scrippsranchtheatre.org
  • Running Time: 2 hrs. 15 min.

Pat Launer, a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, is a long-time San Diego arts writer and an Emmy Award-winning theater critic. An archive of her previews and reviews can be found at patlauner.com.

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