'Nana's Naughty Knickers' overflows with laughs

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It’s a question that has plagued the world for generations, not even able to be answered by the brightest minds who found a way to outer space, cure for diseases and created Farm Town on Facebook. Perhaps, we will never find out what Victoria’s secret is, but if she is anything like the title character in ‘Nana’s Naughty Knickers’ some clues might finally be revealed.

The farcical comedy, ‘Nana’s Naughty Knickers,’ making its Midwest premiere at La Comedia, is the tale of a charming young woman who goes to spend the summer with her grandmother in New York and discovers more than she ever wanted to know. Dear old Nana, played spiritedly by Terry Lupp, has no dust bunnies hidden in her closet but instead a line of self made lingerie geared for selling to senior citizens. The business gives Nana a real boost and extra support, in ways beyond just financially.

However the righteous granddaughter Mindy, a lawyer in training, played by the vivacious Mindy Heithaus, see’s only the legal ramifications of the operation. She fears that her Nana could be arrested, or even evicted from her apartment for running an undercover boutique. Many of the shows laughs comes from Mindy’s attempts to keep Nana’s business a secret, especially from Officer Tom (John Kownacki) who always shows up at the most inopportune times. It all results in comedy that arrests the audience, even if with Nana’s pair of furry handcuffs.

The amount of hilarity receives a real push-up from veteran actress Denise Cox, as Nana’s sidekick Vera. The wise cracking, hard hearing, senseless character stuffs the show with Double D sized laughter. Her level of physical as well as vocal humor are both golden.

Audiences may laugh themselves right out of their knickers, particularly during the scene in which Nana, Vera and reluctantly Bridget agree to model the lingerie for a photo shoot. Their grand entrances are prolific, none more than Bridget’s, whose still friendly relationship with gravity leaves some extra room in her gown. It’s just one of the numerous highpoints of goodness, as rarely does a whole minute ever pass without reason for at least a little chuckle.

A strong underwire, err supporting cast benefits ‘Nana’s Naughty Knickers,’ including the previously mentioned Kownacki as Officer Tom, whose blinded of any wrongdoing due to being smitten by Bridget and her elderly counterparts. As the crotchety landlord Mr. Schmidt, actor Brian Padgett channels the memory of Mr. Furley from ‘Three’s Company.’ He’s “H-e-double hockey stick” bent on finding a way to get Nana evicted from the apartment. Then things really begin to sizzle with the appearance of Heather Van Pree, a sexy vixen played to perfection by Diana Sheets. She sends everything spiraling out of control, putting Nana’s freedom and apartment at great risk. Also appearing, in brief yet memorable roles are Dustin Farris and Elaine M. Smith.

A rarity at La Comedia, ‘Nana’s Naughty Knickers’ includes no music, but flows in a perfect rhythm, and hits every high and low note of comedy. The entire show is set in Nana’s apartment, and occurs in real time. The first act sets up the dangers of the boutique being found out and the second finds the women at high risk. Will Nana lose everything, including her knickers? I’d tell you, but honestly, I was to busy watching Diana Sheets as the walking, breathing S&M model to notice what happened. You will have to go and see for yourself to find out. Trust me, after you are finished laughing, you’ll thank me for it.

Directed by Chris Beiser, ‘Nana’s Naughty Knickers’ continues at La Comedia through Feb. 27. Evening performances Wednesday – Sunday (arrival time 5:30-6:00 p.m.) and matinees Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday (arrival time 10:30-11:00 a.m.). Reservations can be made by phone at (937) 746-4554 or 1-800-677-9505. Buy one-get-one-free savings comes with Entertainment of Prestige Dining Club cards.

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