A Golden Apple cast romps through the Moliere-inspired Golddiggers of 1633.
By Kay Kipling
Most of the time, the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre’s Robert Ennis Turoff sticks to producing or directing the shows, but every once in a while he steps on stage to perform; and when he does, it’s frequently a treat.
Such is the case with Turoff’s role as Arnolphe in Golddiggers of 1633, a musical adaptation of Moliere’s School for Wives that has been seen at the Golden Apple several times before. Arnolphe is an elderly bachelor who finally believes it’s time for him to marry, and his virginal ward is the lucky girl he has in mind. Since she’s been raised in a convent and taught virtually nothing but obedience, he’s sure that Agnes (Sarah Farnam) will never betray him or give him trouble in any way.
His friend Chrysalde (Ben Turoff) tries to warn him; his money-hungry servants (Samantha Barrett and Dewayne Barrett) try to take advantage of him; and then along comes Horace (Michael Swickard), a young friend of Arnolphe’s, who catches one glimpse of Agnes over her garden gate and immediately falls in love. She’s in love with him, too, naturally, and Arnolphe’s comic frustration at the situation escalates to the point where he plans to drag his ward off to the church the very next day.
Ben Turoff and Robert Ennis Turoff in the Golden Apple’s Golddiggers of 1633.
Of course young love will not be thwarted, but it’s entertaining to watch as Arnolphe is alternately lecherous, interrogative and very near murderous. Turoff’s facial expressions for each stage of the game are often priceless, and he’s well matched with the ensemble cast members, who sing, dance, caper and cavort with energy.
The don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it denouement may puzzle some, but that’s a function of Lee Goldsmith’s book, which also employs the device of using the show’s “authors” as puppeteers maneuvering the characters through the various shenanigans of the piece. The musical numbers by Goldsmith and composer Lawrence Hurwit, guided by Dewayne Barrett’s often 1920s-ish choreography, are clever and fun to watch, if not terribly memorable after.
Overall, Golddiggers glides along quite pleasantly; you may be surprised at how quickly the evening flies by. For tickets call 366-5454 or go to thegoldenapple.com.