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THEATER REVIEW : Comedy, Coincidence in Support of Romance : 'Scapino' at the Dinner Theatre combines bad jokes, a variety of accents and an absurd plot.

June 29, 1995|TODD EVERETT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Following a fine production of the relatively unknown and seldom-performed musical "Two by Two," the producers of Dinner Theatre at Ottavio's have taken on a new challenge, also relatively unknown and seldom-performed: Does the name "Scapino" ring any bells?

The play was written by Jim Dale and Frank Dunlop in 1970. Dale, a British performer best-known as lyricist of the popular 1966 movie theme "Georgy Girl," has precedent in tailoring "Scapino" for himself: The 17th-Century French playwright Moliere wrote Dale's source material, "Scapin," as his own starring vehicle.

Mark Andrew Reyes, director of the present production, describes it as "Moliere meets the Marx Brothers," and that will do--it's full of physical comedy, bad jokes, accents ranging from Chico Marx to Cockney and a plot so absurd that characters in the play itself call attention to that fact.

Kevin P. Kern stars as Scapino, a wily servant in Naples who is called upon to solve romantic problems faced by two of his friends: the rather uptight, preppy Ottavio (Joe Sanfellipo) and the doltish Leandro (Sean Burns).

Their fathers want Leandro and Ottavio to marry "right," but the sons have their own ideas. It's up to Scapino to work things out, which he does with the help of an amazing coincidence that will come as no surprise to fans of Shakespeare or Gilbert and Sullivan.

Kern comes off quite well in the leading role. The capable supporting cast--several of them alumni of the Moorpark Melodrama, which is good training for this kind of show--also includes Melissa Wotkyns and Stephanie Yantzer as the appealing young women in question; Gene Bernath and Terry Fishman, both very amusing as miserly Argante and especially gullible Geronte; Jason Rasmussen, a madcap waiter pursuing waitress Susan Burns, and Mark Fagundes as Scapino's athletic sidekick, Sylvestro.

Details

* WHAT: "Scapino."

* WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday through Aug. 5.

* WHERE: Ottavio's Banquet Facility, 340 Mobil Ave., Camarillo.

* HOW MUCH: $26 per person Thursday, $28 Friday and $30 Saturday (includes show, buffet dinner, nonalcoholic beverage, tax and gratuity); discounts available.

* FYI: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., dinner served at 7, show begins sometime after 8.

* CALL: 484-9909.

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