Can’t We All Just Get Along?

If you want an evening of hilarity, go see all three plays of “The Norman Conquests,” Alan Ayckbourn’s trilogy of 1970s English farces, which continues to be performed in Sylvia Center’s Lucas Hicks Theater through Nov. 30 by iDiOM THEATER.
“The Norman Conquests” is made up of three interlocking full-length plays — “Table Manners,” “Living Together,” and “Round and Round the Garden” — that are ingeniously written to be enjoyed individually or as a trilogy, and can be seen in any order. The plays will be performed on a rotating schedule and can also be seen all together on two marathon performance days on Saturday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 30.
From the press release: “Set in the dining room (“Table Manners”), living room (“Living Together”), and garden (“Round and Round the Garden”) of an English country house, “The Norman Conquests” follows six characters — assistant librarian Norman (Tyler Detrick), his wife Ruth (Aubrey Sage), his sister-in-law Annie (Gabi Gilbride), his brother-in-law’s wife Sarah (Akilah Williams), his brother-in-law Reg (Chris Cariker) and the local veterinarian, Tom (Bradley Dillon) — from Saturday night through Monday morning.”
What’s expertly directed by Evan Mueller, associate professor of voice and acting at the department of theater and dance of Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, is the very British way the actors (the characters, really) relate to each other with their faces (I’m talking Chris Cariker’s eyebrows and Bradley Dillon’s sad-sack, hang-down, a bit baffled expressions). And, it’s really all in the timing, with great lines like “Everything happened on the rug!” and “I’m a gigolo trapped in a haystack.” And the accents are spot-on.
Spoiler: No one gets along.
Sylvia Center’s Glenn Hegenhahn-Zhao designed the gorgeous sets, and Evan’s wife Brie  Mueller, with help from assistant director Zoe Bronstein, took care of the the props on stage, full of very proper bric-a-brac (tea sets, silk napkins, table mats with English hunting scenes and the like), and Brie also acquired the costumes, replete with 1970’s paisley and polyester.
With his characteristic compassionate humor, Ayckbourn explores the disappointments bubbling beneath the surface as his characters’ dreams of love and fulfillment go awry.
Individual tickets range from $10 to $25;  three-show “Trilogy Packages” range from $24 to $60. Details at SylviaCenterfortheArts.org/events.

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