The Nefarious Bed & Breakfast, a comedy by Monkeyman Productions, sees a former supervillain – Dr. Notto Nefarious – turn a new leaf as the sole-proprietor of a Toronto bed and breakfast. His first guests are anything but normal, and Nefarious soon finds out there’s more to running a B&B than forced conversation and croissants. Especially when his clients have their own reasons for being a part of this particular B&B.
Despite a promising premise, the writing (D.J. Sylvis) suffers from a heavy reliance on cheap laughs to the detriment of character development. Mr. Mister’s hokey witticisms make him particularly one-dimensional and tiresome. And Half-Ape is pure cliché. The humour might appeal most to a much younger audience than typical of Theatre Passe Muraille. A highlight is Jeff Orchard as the troubled Dr. Nefarious, who displays breadth and some much-needed tension that was sadly lost in this play’s other big fault: the staging.
It is not a good idea to stage nearly half of the 90-minute play on a second-storey-around-the-corner (usually storage) part of the theatre. (This is at the backstage location of Theatre Passe Muraille.) Between the interior theatre wall running up to the stage and the brick pillar just past it, I could see only the occasional hand gestures, and nothing else. If you intend to see this play I suggest you sit high and to the left or else you will not see a good portion of it. With a more developed, nuanced script and a focus on the stage, The Nefarious Bed & Breakfast would make for a much more comfortable stay.