Take a Trip with Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii
A ‘farce’, or “a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations”, is the perfect way to define Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii. Despite the clever title, no characters travel to Hawaii and the audience never meets Nurse Jane; instead, a host of seemingly unrelated characters enter and are trapped within the same house. The unchanging set features a series of doors that allow new characters to enter and exit the Chisholm home quickly, each bringing a new soap opera trope to the mix, from long lost children to mistaken identity to adultery.
The eccentric play, directed by Mark Mooney, begins as the young and ecstatic harlequin writer Vivien Bliss (Melissa Metler) arrives at the home of Edgar Chisholm (David Pasquino), believing his wife to be gone for the weekend. The secretive lovers quickly learn that Doris Chisholm (Lori Fellner) is in fact home, having skipped her business trip as an advice columnist to conduct interviews at home. This encounter leads to the smashing of homemade ceramics and the entrance of a supposed pervert and old friend with pantyhose over his head, a journalist determined to expose an affair, a long lost son, and a vicious editor.
The London Community Players handled the outrageous humour with a sense of self-awareness that perfects the show’s comedic timing. This awareness also feels like a wink to the audience, as the melodramatic tropes and slapstick comedy would otherwise feel cheesy. Although the extensive amount of slapstick humour felt inauthentic, or perhaps forced compared to the rest of the show, the explosive moments add to the campy nature of the performance. The sitcom style set also contributed to the hyperbolic style of the show; with the proper laugh track it could be a hit TV program.