Director Shashin Desai deserves bonus points for taking on something that's essentially a twist on Charley's Aunt with the added flavor of Feydeau. Desai's sterling cast gives shape, color, and meaning to Twain's ideas and Ives' words, apparently having never met an episode of Bosom Buddies or films like Some Like It Hot they didn't like. Just when you're convinced Ojeda's bland façade is a fatal misstep by actor and director, he begins to hit his stride while disguised as "Daisy." Brian Stanton stands out as Millet's less-talented (other than the gift of gab) American artist pal, and as Millet's pupils (a Dutchman and an Irishman), Chip Bent and Blake Silver are fine farceurs. Joe Fria breathes demented life into several cartoonish characters. Kudos also to Stephen Gifford's imaginative and ingenious scenic design, transformed during intermission from Millet's cluttered studio in Barbizon to Daisy's chic Parisian drawing room.
Presented by and at International City
Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach.
May 1–24. Thu.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.
(562) 436-4610 or www.ictlongbeach.org.