HOTEL PARADISO -- The Studio Theatre, 1443 Rhode Island Avenue NW. Evenings, Friday through Sunday with a matinee on Sunday. Call 483-9779 or 347-4700.
Farce is hard enough to pull off with a few talented players, so it's astonishing to see Studio Theater get away with running 25 performers through three acts in "Hotel Paradiso" without anybody falling on his or her face.
Just getting the players on and off stage more than 200 times without a noticeable miscue would be a considerable accomplishment, but the clockwork doesn't show as the talented and energetic cast lightfoots through a tangled tale of attempted infidelity.
"Hotel Paradiso" is a turn-of-the-century piece by Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desvalliers and obviously was chosen by director Joy Zinoman to provide a maximum number of parts for the members of her acting school. In less-sure hands, that would be a recipe for a dull recital or a clumsy disaster: Nothing dies quicker than miscast comedy.
The affair revolves around the attempts of Jim Nugent, playing a hen-pecked husband and a Sally Stunkel, playing the neglected wife of his best friend, to consummate their passion in a madhouse of ill repute. Further description would be fruitless. It is fast, it is funny, and this will be the show's final weekend.