East Penn Press

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

THEATER REVIEWS CKP 'Parfumerie' has scents of fun

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by KATRINA WEHR Special to The Press in Focus

The Crowded Kitchen Players (CKP) present a truly unique show with a strong storyline in "Parfumerie."

The play centers around a fictional pharmacy shop, Hammerschmidt's Parfumerie in Budapest, Hungary, and includes all the fun and entertainment that audiences have come to expect from the Lower Macungie-based CKP.

The cast makes effective use of the space inside McCoole's Arts & Events Place, Quakertown, to put on a believable show, which continues through Dec. 16. While the main focus is the action unfolding inside Hammerschmidt's, the players are putting on another show outside the giant glass window of the shop. Be sure to pay attention to what's going on outside the parfumerie in addition to the main stage.

"Parfumerie," directed by Ara Barlieb, was originally a Hungarian play under a different title. The story spans the two weeks leading up to Christmas and opens with employees of the parfumerie remarking on how grumpy the owner, Mr. Hammerschmidt, seems to be despite the holiday season which has the shop bustling with customers.

"Parfumerie," the inspiration for the movies "You've Got Mail" and "The Shop Around the Corner," takes its audience through workplace drama like who's courting who, which employee is the next to get a pink slip, and whether the store will even remain open because of financial issues.

Employees discover why Mr. Hammerschmidt (David Oswald) is so grumpy when he reveals that he received a mysterious letter informing him that his wife has been unfaithful with one of the employees of the shop, a revelation so devastating that it causes the shop owner to adjust his priorities in life.

We are introduced to a sizable cast, but audiences won't find it hard to keep up with the different storylines each is a part of. Every player finds a way to make his or her character memorable, making each of their stories all the more believable, especially William Alexander and Kelly Herbert James, whose characters, Mr. Horvath and Miss Balash, respectively, are involved in a wacky secret-admirer tryst that neither of them realizes.

Another performance to watch for is that of Brian Keller, who plays Mr. Sipos, the eldest and presumably wisest employee of Hammerschmidt's. His dual-role as informant and confidant is portrayed exceedingly well.

"Parfumerie" is an entertaining show with a rapid pace and a lot of action. The actors deliver humorous lines and recurring jokes throughout the performance as the characters make their way toward satisfying story resolutions.