Fort Myers News-Press
December 6, 2008

Conspiracy sets stage for literary spoof


Lord Cyril Loveworthy is in a pickle. The novelist needs a bestseller to finance his daughter's wedding. So he schemes a way to elicit a rave review from his next-door neighbor, the literary critic for the Times of London. Trouble is, the reviewer is not a fan.

Their confrontation sets off a spiraling spoof of Victorian drawing room comedy in Jeff Goode's "Love Loves a Pornographer." Theatre Conspiracy has staged a well-designed and gamely executed production.

Goode wrote past Conspiracy successes "Dick Piston, Hotel Detective" and "The Eight Reindeer Monologues." His script here contains layers of puns, quips and double entendres.

Set during a single tea party in a parlor, the play delightfully skewers uppa-class mores, sexual double standards and Oscar Wildean cliches.

Head conspirator Bill Taylor shines in the role of Lord Loveworthy, deliciously pushing the British accent and haughty facial expressions over the top. He is well matched with Stephanie Davis as Lady Loveworthy, whose taffeta-and-lace facade contrasts with an ability to land zingers in unexpected places. The actors' interplay makes an enjoyable parlor game.

The plot thickens in the second act, but to reveal more would spoil some of the fun.

Director Karen Goldberg keeps the action snowballing, even if the playwright's dense dialogue and tongue-twisting alliteration occasionally trip up the players - particularly Rick Sebastian as the critic. Most of the other players hit their marks reliably, especially Justin Ray Wilson as the veddy proper butler.

David Towlun's set and Diana Waldier's costumes create suitable visual accoutrements for an entertaining evening in an English drawing room.