Audiences at the Lyric Theatre will enjoy a double dose of comedy when the lights go up Friday night for “Shut and Bar the Door” and “A Toby Show.”
The farcical productions, “Shut and Bar the Door” and “A Toby Show,” follow in the comedic vein of February’s “The Beverly Hillbillies” and last spring’s “Love Rides the Rails.”
The two one-act plays will play consecutively at each performance, separated by an intermission.
“The shows are hilarious,” director Larry Mathis said. “At the first read-through, everybody was laughing so hard, they were crying.”
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The same Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule will be followed May 26-28.
Several of the performers are cast in both shows, creating a challenge for them as they shift gears and characters during intermission.
“Shut and Bar the Door” by Tom Gray, set in 13th century England, features a husband and wife who enter a pact to remain silent after an argument over which one of them should “shut and bar the door” of their cottage. Their resolve is tested when their home’s open door allows a princess to enter, seeking the couple’s help and offering a significant reward if one of them would only speak and agree to assist with the search for her missing prince.
Next, the open door provides easy access for two bumbling robbers, whose scheme is interrupted by the arrival — through the still open door — of the prince who had been missing. The confrontation builds to a sidesplitting chase and what appears to be a happy ending — except neither the husband nor his wife is even then willing to deal with the open door.
“A Toby Show” brings back to the stage an American folk character named Toby, a country bumpkin who through naiveté, honesty and homespun humor outwits city slickers. During the melodrama, Toby both narrates and participates in a Cinderella-inspired story, emerging the hero by outsmarting the stepmother and stepsisters trying to steal an inheritance.
Set in 1915, “A Toby Show” was written by Aurand Harris, perhaps best known for adapting “Androcles and the Lion” as a children’s musical in 1964.
These productions are part of the Patron packages offered by the Lyric Theatre, but even though admission is paid, patrons still need to reserve seats in advance. Information is available and reservations may be made online at www.brownwoodlyrictheatre.com. Ticket costs are $12 for adults and $8 for students.