The Wellington Advertiser
 
Theatre Orangeville's Skin Flick another comedic gem from Norm Foster
 
by Chris Daponte
 

ORANGEVILLE - What happens when five career-challenged adults with nothing to lose cross paths? They make a pornographic movie, of course. The concept is not new, per se, but when guided by the hand of playwright Norm Foster, it becomes an imaginative and whimsical riot.

The aptly titled Skin Flick, which plays at Theatre Orangeville until Oct. 31, tells the story of middle-aged husband and wife Rollie (David Nairn) and Daphne (Susan Greenfield), who suddenly find themselves unemployed.

 

Maria Dinn and David Nairn

Desperation quickly creeps in and, motivated by an honest mix-up - Rollie wanted to rent the movie Fun with Dick and Jane and instead brings home an adult film with a title two words shorter - the couple eventually considers making a pornographic movie.

With calculated assistance from friend Alex (Foster), a cameraman also without work after he was fired for being too helpful during a reporter’s wardrobe malfunction, the porno transforms from outrageous idea to seemingly obtainable reality.

The would-be producers find their leading lady when stranger Jill (Maria Dinn) shows up with an adult birthday telegram. She has the wrong address, but Rollie and Daphne somehow manage to convince Jill, who clearly loathes her current job, to star in their adult film.

 

A visit from prospective financier Byron (Jamie Williams) is mistaken for a male lead audition, but Byron also agrees to star in the movie, after winning over Jill with his sheepish demeanor. So the camera starts rolling and chaos ensues.

Nairn, who is also Theatre Orangeville’s artistic director, is great as Rollie. He captures perfectly the dynamic between husband and wife when it comes to their polar-opposite sexual expectations.

Greenfield is wonderful as Daphne, who despite her outer appearance, has a somewhat naughty side beneath the surface. Yet it’s Greenfield’s portrayal of Daphne’s naive side - she wants a porno that doesn’t objectify women, which draws much laughter from the other characters - that seems most genuine and heartfelt.

Williams is superb as Byron, a bookie lacking the mean streak or physical attributes to be successful in that field. Williams’ portrayal of the self-deprecating divorcee with very limited sexual experience provides some of the funniest moments in the production.

But the real stars of the show are Dinn and Foster. The role of Jill seems to be made for Dinn, whose age, beauty and acting abilities make her believable as both the awkward, unhappy birthday messenger and the leading lady of an adult film. She is particularly strong in scenes highlighting the irony in Jill’s bashfulness on the set, given the film could be seen by thousands of people.

Alex’s one-liners and affinity for the F-word are hilarious, thanks to impeccable delivery and timing from Foster. He is a talented actor who excels at playing everyman characters.

Foster also produced another fine script for Skin Flick - one of over 40 to his credit - and the actors obviously received great direction from Walter Learning. As usual, the set, lighting and costume designs, by Vaughn Davis, Steve Lucas and Vandy Simpson respectively, are perfect.

But there were several aspects of the play that detracted from its overall appeal. Whether the responsibility rests with Nairn or the writer, Rollie’s repeated explanations of when narration and regular scenes start and end are unnecessary and hinder the flow of the production; the audience is smart enough to differentiate between the two. And while funny already,the play could have been enhanced by a few more additions of “physical” comedy. Those already included are priceless, and the subject matter leaves the audience begging for more.

The first act develops slowly at times, but the second half moves along at a perfect pace and delivers regular, side-splitting laughs.

The topic of Skin Flick and the language included therein make it an adult-only production. However, as he has done countless times before, Foster deftly ambles the fine line between hilarity and vulgarity with the precision of an accomplished high wire act. The result is yet another smash comedic hit that, despite its flaws, will resonate with audience members of both sexes.

Skin Flick plays six shows a week until Oct. 31. For tickets call 519-942-3423 or 1-800-424-1295 or visit www.theatreorangeville.ca.