Hillbarn Theatre & Conservatory
The red stage light comes on, accompanied by a resounding ring; theme music fills the air; and lights come up on what could almost be a recreation of Lucy and Desi’s apartment. Canned applause joins in ushering to the stage another episode of Perfect Arrangement. But what starts out as a laugh-out-loud silly sitcom about two married, next-door-neighbor couples begins to take some interesting twists and turns that go beyond just the twirling skirts of the high-heeled, pearl-wearing hostess with the most-est. Sure, the set-up is 1950’s-TV-familiar as one husband’s State Department boss and his wife have joined the two neighboring couples for a night of canapés and high-ball cocktails, but there is something about the way the next-door husbands and the neighboring wives look at the other of same sex that one begins to understand that there is more to this sitcom’s title than immediately meets the eye.
Based on a true story, Hillbarn Theatre and Conservatory presents the 2017 Off-Broadway-premiering Perfect Arrangement by the award-winning playwright, Topher Payne. His Perfect Arrangement is a rip-roaring comedy about a gay couple and a lesbian couple whose partners live with each other in arranged marriages in an era when living as same-sex couples was illegal. But the laughing can last only so long before the real story of the McCarthy age search for so-called deviants begins to cast doubts on how perfect this arrangement can continue to be. Hillbarn’s Perfect Arrangement is not only a masterful mixture of funny TV nostalgia and not-so-funny McCarthy Age trauma, its perfect-in-so-many-ways production is unsettlingly and forebodingly timely as red state after red state is currently passing anti-LGBTQ laws.
For the rest of my review, please continue to Talkin’ Broadway.
Rating: 5 E, MUST-SEE
A Theatre Eddys Best Bet Production
Perfect Arrangement continues through March 26, 2023 in production by Hillbarn Theatre and Conservatory, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, CA. Tickets are available online at https://www.hillbarntheatre.org, at the box office 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 650-349.6411, ext. 2.
Please note: Patrons must wear masks during every performance.
Photo Credit: Mark and Tracy