Jeffery Hatcher’s To Fool the Eye is an adaptation of Jean Anoulih’s LÃ©ocadia. The production is a collaboration of 1812 Productions and Drexel University. The story is about memories of lost love, and the insane lengths one would go to hold on to such memories. Even though it is presented as a comedy, much of said comedy has nothing to do with the plot, even though the length the characters have taken to hold on to a young Prince’s memory is farcical. Much of the laughs come through non sequiturs, and humorous delivery of otherwise straight faced statements. I must stress though, the gags and jokes are incredibly funny. The delivery is excellent and somehow remains fresh throughout, where most humor of this type would have lost its appeal after the first half hour.
The first half does struggle a little, seemingly spinning its wheels searching for far away plot hooks. At times you will laugh – then sit there for a while wondering where it is all going. Once the setup is complete, the story gains traction. The later half moves smoothly as you learn more about the characters and get to the meat of the plot. I loved the live music and more so the set; transitions were done beautifully from scene to scene. Normally scene transitions are purely functional, but this production had their own spin on it, a knowing wink, that really made it feel fluid and provided extra entertainment.
While I feel like the second half was rich with metaphors, sets, and parallel story reveals, the first half did not flow as smoothly, and depended on gags and sprinkles of humor to truly get the story rolling. Â But overall, the comedy is fresh, worthy of a laugh, and once the Prince shows up, you can begin to sink your teeth into the plot.
To Fool the Eye is running through February 14-March 3, 2013.Â The show runs for about two hours and is playing at the Mandell Theater, 3201 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (note: There is a bunch of construction going on right now on the building, there is one entrance on Chestnut to take close to 33rd street with signs pointing you to the Mandell Theater). Tickets and additional information can be found at www.1812productions.org.