New Mountain Playhouse comedy crackles


August 10, 2013

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JENNERSTOWN — Double-agents, double-entendres and doubled-over laughter are what to expect at the Mountain Playhouse production of "Sin, Sex and the CIA."

This absurdly funny romp takes audience members inside a cozy CIA safehouse in the mountains of Virginia. Here, they meet a zany crew of femme fatales, holy rollers and bumbling heroes.

The premise is this: American powerbrokers want an inside deal with the Chagos Islands, where enormous oil reserve have been discovered. OPEC, meanwhile, wants to sabotage the talks and bring the Chagos into its cartel. These competing interests converge on the safehouse — which is anything but, thanks to the incompetent booby-trapping of CIA operative Luke James (Martin Landry).

The tension in this faux-thriller is mostly sexual. Margaret Johnson (Debra Gordon), Millicent (Caroline Shannon) and Heather Ann Farady (Lisa Riegel) are each in heat — and one of them, if not all, may also be more than she appears.

Guy Stroman's cast members seem to relish their outlandish roles, and it's hard to stifle laughter when the actors and actresses barely manage the same.

Their enjoyment is contagious and plays into the charm of this goofy caper.

John Little is fire-and-brimstone as the prudish Rev. Samuel Abernathy, and Joe Joyce's Daniel Warren has some hilarious inner-monologue moments. Best of all are scenes involving Ranger Don, played by Latrobe native J.D. Daw. Ranger Don manages to be stoic and mysterious — all while wearing short-shorts that leave very little to mystery.

In the end, "Sin, Sex and the CIA" is just about as fun as it sounds, and that's a compliment.

The play blends whodunit intrigue with slapstick hysteria, to great effect.

If you're looking for smiles that won't self-destruct, this one's well-worth the cost of admission