A British farce? It's only 'Natural'

Stiff upper lip? Not when it comes to what might be categorized as mistaken-identity stage comedies. That's where the Brits really let their hair down, and "Natural Causes" promises to be no different.

The play, by British sitcom writer and playwright Eric Chappell, opens Sept. 10 at the Rochester Repertory Theatre.

"It's one of those British sitcoms, making fun of our pretensions, about not being honest with one another," said Cheryl Frarck, who is directing the play.

"I've compared it to Noel Coward," she said. "Appearances are everything. You never say what you're really thinking, let alone what you're feeling."

As a result, confusion reigns and everyone involved becomes upset, suspicious and possibly dead. It's all a case of mistaken identity, you see.


The plot involves Vincent, an euthanasia society representative, who is called to the country home (where else could a British mystery take place?) of Walter Bryce. "He thinks Walter wants to commit suicide, but what Walter really wants is to get rid of his wife," Frarck said.

As a result of the confusion, the potent potion is poured in the wrong drink, and the wrong people are in danger of involuntarily giving up their lives. Then a good samaritan arrives on the scene and the proceedings get increasingly wacky.

"It's not a farce of slamming doors, it's more of a farce of words," Frarck said.


For the play, the Rep stage will be set as the library/study of Bryce's country home. The cast features Greg Strobel as Walter and Jeff Ryan as Vincent, with Karen Masbruch as Mrs. Bryce, Jeanine Haggerty as a secretary, and Christine Boos as the good samaritan.

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