British sex farce ‘Round and Round the Garden’ comes to ACT San Francisco

Norman (Manoel Felciano) and Ruth (René Augesen) discuss their marriage. Photo by Kevin Berne.
Norman (Manoel Felciano) and Ruth (René Augesen) discuss their marriage. Photo by Kevin Berne.
Norman (Manoel Felciano) and Ruth (René Augesen) discuss their marriage. Photo by Kevin Berne.
Norman (Manoel Felciano) and Ruth (René Augesen) discuss their marriage. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Only in England, you say? Round and Round the Garden, the third installment of Alan Ayckbourn’s acclaimed trilogy The Norman Conquests, opens tomorrow night at the always inventive American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

In this sex farce, librarian Normal “channels his inner Casanova” when he attempts to seduce his two sisters-in-law. What is this, July 4th in Texas?

“Round and Round the Garden feels tailor-made for A.C.T.’s resident company, and is filled with the kind of wit, sexuality, surprise and pathos that is catnip for any actor,” says artistic director Carey Perloff. “I can’t wait to see our astonishing company of actors get their hands on this material!”

Directed by John Rando who won a Tony for Urinetown (2002), it should be another interesting evening in Union Square.

ACT is one of my favorite theater houses.

Every single production has been absolutely memorable, for better (Brief Encounter), and even for worse (War Music). They swing for the fences, and it can result in all sorts of spectacle. Productions here simply refuse to be forgettable. Part of that has to do with the grand staging; sometimes spectacularly colorful and detailed (A Christmas Carol), other times minimalist and modern (Phedre). And because it’s a conservatory, we get to know the core actors whos familiar faces and voices (case in point: Anthony Fusco) carry us through a season of diverse material.

I’m not sure this trailer below reveals a whole lot.

In fact, it reminds me of that movie Jerry Seinfeld was in where he played a bee. At least I think it existed. Never saw it. But we will be seeing Round and Round the Garden. And always, I’ll wonder what’s in store as we dash down Geary Street…

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