'Instructions for American Serviceman in Britain'
A Really Fun Play
In what is a good, good natured play, Brits on Broadway at 59 East 59th Street in association with Fol Espoir (foolish hope), Jermyn Street Theater and The Real Mac Guffins, have a real winner in Instructions for American Serviceman in Britain.
Fol Espoir is dedicated to creating works that connect with the audience, and connect it does. Many audience members are asked to stand and give name and rank. At other times the audience is throwing paper towels at the actors. What's a clever show without a little dancing at their seats during the performance.
Co-written by all three actors, as well as the Director, the show is non stop laughs. The shows premise is that the Yanks have landed in England during world war two and there is quite a bit of tension between the servicemen and the Brits. Drinking and running over the rose bushes are frowned upon across the pond so is boasting and being loud.
It seems that the two countries need to work together to defuse Nazi propaganda attempts to split the allies apart. We see this comical attempt at the beginning of act two in which the Germans plan to plant spies in England to laude their propaganda and infiltrate the enemy. A cross between Hogans Heroes and Family Fued, this scene was raucous.
The three actors play multiple roles and all three do a brilliant job of that. John Walton's direction kept this comedy moving at a fast pace all evening. Reminiscent of the Ridiculous Theater Company, this spoof bordered on the absurd.
Dan March as Colonel Atwood, the hillbilly from Iowa, who only knew his way, was a love-able tough guy. From Marmite to describing the map of England, he kept us in stitches the entire evening.
James Millard as Lieutenant Schultz was the peace maker and go between. Never one to rock the boat, he too was clever in his multiple roles, from lieutenant, to Major Gibbons mother, he was excellent to watch.
The third sensational actor was Matt Sheahan. The Englishman who took abuse all evening. Very British and steadfast to English history, he became enraged when the classless Americans insulted his nation. His hobby of coin collecting and his deep passion for it drove the audience into a frenzy when he explained to us the English currency.
The sets were pithy and the costumes were all well done. From the air force uniforms to the knickers, Martin Thomas was on the money with both endeavors. What made this play really great were the outlandish uniform of Major Gibbons, the German uniforms, replete with puppets and the women's costumes.
Instructions is the kind of show that will keep you laughing long after you've seen it. There was so much to laugh at during the two hours and 20 minutes and it is the reason that we need more comedy like this in New York. Much like The Play That Goes Wrong, it keeps you entertained. It's very obvious that all three actors loved doing this show, it was a party on the stage at theater B on 59 East 59th Street.