Laugh Out Loud Show Opens at the Hudson House
Review by Melanie Nelson

Unnecessary Farce – a comedy of two cops, three crooks, and eight doors – by Paul Slade Smith is playing at St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre located in the Hudson House Grand Hotel.

The stage is set with adjoining hotel rooms mirroring each other on stage. The show opens as undercover cop Eric, believably and beautifully played by Michael McKay, enters in his underwear. From the first words out of his mouth, the audience quickly learns we are in for a 90-minute ride.

That ride starts as two cops and the new city accountant attempt to catch the mayor on camera admitting to cooking the books. They have rigged a hotel room with a camera and set up a recording device in the room next door.

Two details put a wrench in the plan from the very beginning... first, it seems obvious both cops narrowly made it through academy, as neither seems to have the smarts of a 4th grader. Second, Eric and the new city accountant – equal in social awkwardness – have fallen passionately in love.

But a wrench in the plan for a farce is a good thing. Even a better thing is this strong cast and extremely tight choreography of physical comedy and a dance of doors that draws out belly laughter. There are times when you forget there are two totally separate rooms on the stage, because the characters in adjoining rooms blindly complete each other’s thoughts flawlessly.

The cast is a true ensemble and includes all actors you’ve enjoyed at previous visits to the dinner theatre: Eric’s partner/rookie cop Billie played by Brittany Oberstadt, the accountant Karen played by Augusta Lane, the Mayor played by Wayne Peterson, the Mayor’s security guard played by Dan Rooney, a hot-tempered Scotsman named Todd played by Nathan Hoarn, and the addled Mayor’s wife played by Hudson’s own Fredrice Nord.

What’s for dinner? You get your choice of filet of beef, parmesan crusted chicken breast, broiled boneless pork chop, broiled walleye filet, or vegetable fettuccini. No matter what you order, make sure to save room for dessert!

The comedy runs Fridays and Saturday evenings through May 20. The price of $62 includes dinner with nonalcoholic beverage, show, tip, and tax/handling fee. Get your tickets by calling 715-386-2394 ext. 333 or order them online at

St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre

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