What’s a normally unflappable but stressed-out butler to do?
He’s working for a VIP in the diplomatic corps but his functions go well beyond those of his job description.
In addition to greeting visitors and running of the household, Perkins, the stereotypically stuffy English butler for the American ambassador to the U.K., also has to cover for the shenanigans caused by his employer’s overactive libido.
This is the premise behind “The Amorous Ambassador,” staged by the Jefferson Performing Arts Society and opening Friday night for a run through March 6 at Teatro Wego! in Westwego.
The two-act comedic farce rollicks through the madcap misadventures of Ambassador “Hormone Harry” Douglas as he attempts to live out an extramarital fantasy with a sexy neighbor while his unsuspecting wife and daughter are out of town.
As Perkins tries to keep the illicit tryst running smoothly, complications arise when the ambassador’s daughter sneaks back to the house with the same plan as her dad.
She brings her boyfriend over, thinking they were going to be alone, then has to disguise him in women’s clothing when she finds out they’ve got company.
Harry’s plans takes an unexpected turn when he is smitten by the boyfriend’s disguise and attempts to seduce him.
Further humorous complications ensue when a bungling Marine Corps officer from the embassy’s security detail arrives unannounced with the ambassador’s equally inept secretary, responding to rumors of a bomb threat. The house is sealed off with everyone in it, forcing them to deal with an increasingly uncomfortable situation.
Encouraged by the enthusiastic turnout for last year’s comedy production of “Sex Please We’re Sixty,” JPAS is following it up with another comedy by the same author, Michael Parker. “The Amorous Ambassador” is Parker’s sequel to the play that introduced the character of “Hormone Harry” as “The Sensuous Senator” in the late 1980s.
Wayne Daigrepont, who directed “Sex Please,” returns to direct this production. David Jacobs performs in the title role and Jeffrey Martorell is Perkins.
“I’m used to being more of a crazy character,” said Martorell, a 30-year stage veteran who had a supporting role in “Sex Please.” “But Perkins is a stiff-lipped English butler, so he’s very restrained and there’s a lot of humor in that.”
Martorell adds, “I’m busy covering for myself as well. There are a lot of crazy things that happen and I’m always deftly trying to work it out. I’m the one who really knows and sees what’s going on with everybody else.”
Daigrepont, who is known throughout the local theatrical community for his own brand of humor, described the production as “a comedy of errors” and “very funny and slapsticky.”
“We’re having so much fun with this show,” Daigrepont said. “We have some funny, funny actors and it’s very physical. A wild, broad farce with door-slammings galore. Lots of stylish, slightly off-color humor, but all in good taste.
“I always say you can’t win at Scrabble unless you have winning letters and I have eight winning letters, one for each of the actors,” Daigrepont added. “They’re all very polished comedians and naturally funny.”
Other cast members include Stacy Taliancich Randall as Marian, Harry’s sensuous neighbor; Elyse McDaniel as Harry’s daughter, Debbie; Joe Seibert as Debbie’s boyfriend, Joe; Leon Contavesprie as Marine Capt. South; Marylee Gibbons as Faye, the embassy secretary; and Claire Conti as Lois, Harry’s wife.