BEDROOM FARCE -- At the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater through March 24.
There are three double beds on stage throughout "Bedroom Farce," and nothing erotic happens in any one of them. Nothing erotic is even said in any of them. How is that for un-truth in packaging?
Not that there's any lack of nakedness or dirty talk on today's stage. But the generic title promises at least naughtiness, and the beds of "Bedroom Farce" are occupied by one married couple each, while a fourth married couple wanders in and out of these bedrooms conducting some inconsequential marital quarrel that's eventually resolved with no more reason than it had to begin.
What's more, they all keep their bathrobes on in bed. It's a peculiarity of both stage and screen that suddenly awakened sleepers always put on their robes and slippers before checking to see who's breaking into their bedrooms, but these people carry it one step further by getting under the covers with their bathrobes on.
One notices such details because there isn't anything else in Alan Ayckbourn's play with which to amuse oneself. No funny lines and no funny business, in either the theatrical or the colloquial senses of the phrase. A preview audience, sparse because of the snow or perhaps from having gotten the word from their English cousins, was trying, but not getting much help.
The themes are that a man who has a bad back keeps getting accidentally knocked about, that a woman who feels generally inadequate keeps repeating aloud to herself that she's not, that someone's house seems to be letting in the damp. Ayckbourn and Peter Hall directed a cast from the National Theatre Company of Great Britain to hack away at these ideas at top pitch.
They should be more considerate of those of us who were trying to sleep.