Last exit to Versailles

“The Mockery” makes mincemeat of aristocratic values

Greg Corradini

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot prove their leader is a deceitful, pompous murderer.

Despite this predicament, they are going to sing and dance their butts off.

This weekend, the Xperimental Theatre will showcase its first musical, “The Mockery.” In this epic tale of deceit, royalty and prostitutes intermingle, mimes are murdered and the king of France has got a lot of “La Charm.”

“I’ve done a lot of writing in the past,” said Christina Akers, the writer and director. “But I’ve never done the song-and-dance kind of thing.”

But after almost two years of tweaking her lyrics and play, Akers has produced something more than just a musical.

One gigantic romp, “The Mockery” is a wild and outlandish tale that turns love triangles into hexagons. Along the way, dramatic musical interludes add a tone of mock seriousness.

The central conflict in the play revolves around a messy three-way relationship involving the king of France (Jim McDoniel), Prince Renne (Dan Peltzman) and Danyanna (Shannon McMillan). But there is enough star-crossed love in this production – including a one-night tryst between the king and a mute mime – to make your head spin.

Therefore, the real fun begins when, mired among all the love, musical numbers pop up. Against the backdrop of the play’s farce, the numbers add a sense of everyday neurosis to character psychology.

Take, for example, Marimeanna (Erin Roberts), a commonplace courtesan aspiring to be an actress.

To highlight this internal class conflict, composer Jonathan Edington and Akers collaborated to produce a hilarious song in which Marimeanna sings, “Somehow, sometime, someway, I’ll become somebody someday.”

With lines this earnest and sentimental, everyone in the audience should be singing along, crying or laughing hysterically. It’s your choice.

“I don’t necessarily want the play to be about anything in particular for anybody,” Akers said. “I want the audience to take it as they will. Theater is ruled by interpretation.”

If this play doesn’t defy interpretation at times, then it is sure to get your butt moving when the king of France, who has an affinity for Spanish, does his smoking theme song, “Muy Guapo!”