In many respects, this play by father and son Ray and Michael Cooney is a tribute to those anonymous folk — the Toms, Dicks, and Harrys — who only count when the tax collector comes around. Tom Kerwood (the hyperactive Brian Stanton) rents a pleasant home, has a lovely wife, Linda (a frantic Christy Hall), and two abominable brothers: Dick (talented funnyman Nicolas Levene), who knows dozens of ways to work the system, and Harry (pleasantly dopey Jaime Tintor), a permanent screwup who baby-sits the cadavers at the morgue.
Tom and Linda are expecting a baby, to be delivered from an adoption agency by the terrifying Mrs. Potter (a crazy-daisy Kerry Michaels). The would-be parents must show their best profile to Mrs. P., and that doesn't include pesky brother Dick, who has become attached to two illegal immigrants from Kosovo — the buxom Katerina (Jaime Andrews in a strong showing) and her dipsy-doodle grandfather, Andreas (a hilarious Lou Briggs) — who were hiding, along with a stash of tax-free cigarettes and brandy Dick's planning to sell, in the van Dick "borrowed" from Tom. Nor does a trash bag full of human body parts that Harry has smuggled out of the morgue to sell to a university for anatomical studies, and to make a story point, portend well.
Therein lies the tale in the Cooneys' eminently silly, mostly hysterical farce. Will Dick be able to confuse Constable Downs (the doughty Matt Foyer) long enough for the illegals to get fake passports from Russian mobster Boris (scary David Fruechting)? Will the ghoulish body parts remain safely hidden from prying eyes in the sleeper sofa? Will Mrs. Potter be fooled by all the meshugaas going down at the Kerwoods' house? Will our kids get their baby?
Following the British farce blueprint, director Todd Nielsen hews to, but doesn't always get, the hectic pacing and high-concept performances this Silly String theatre requires. Stanton tends to push his lines in the service of funny; Hall uses a fake, fancy accent that works as underkill to the comedy; and the physical high jinks never quite get up to the acrobatic clown speed that would ramp up the laugh meter farce needs in order to work. Nonetheless, most audience funny bones are affected in some healthy way.
Set design by Matthew D. Egan, sound by Paul Fabre, and costumes by Carin Jacobs work to their best advantage.
Presented by and at International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Oct. 19-Nov. 18. (562) 436-4610. www.ictlongbeach.org.