BULLHEAD CITY — Long before “identity theft” became a household term, “Charley’s Aunt” entertained audiences with a humorous story about deception, love, greed and mistaken identity. The farce, which debuted on Broadway to sellout audiences in 1893, will have three performances this week at Mohave High School.
Show times are 7 p.m. Arizona time today and Friday and 2 p.m. for a Saturday matinee. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. All performances are in the Mohave High auditorium at Highway 95 and Hancock Road.
“Charley’s Aunt” focuses on three upper-crust college students who are looking for ways to tell their girlfriends that they love them. Charley Wykeham’s rich and widowed aunt, Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez, is en route from Brazil to visit her nephew for the first time, and the young men are hoping that she’ll be a required chaperone. Charley has no idea what his aunt looks like, and assumes no one else does, either.
When Charley’s aunt is delayed, one of the three undergrads, Lord Fancourt Babberly, known as “Babbs,” is reluctantly forced to impersonate her and be a chaperone for the other two young men, Charley and Jack Chesney, and their girlfriends, Amy Spettigue and Kitty Verdun. Things become even more bizarre when the real Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez shows up and hides her identity after she discovers she’s being impersonated.
“Charley’s Aunt” was first performed in England in 1892 before moving to Broadway the following year. The play has been performed countless times around the world over the past 125 years and has kept its humor. Previous cast members have included Jack Benny, Art Carney, Orson Bean, Noel Coward and Sir John Gielgud. It was also produced as a film, a Broadway musical with Ray Bolger (“Scarecrow” from “The Wizard of Oz”), and later a filmed version of the musical. Bolger’s 1948 stage and 1954 film adaptations, “Where’s Charley?” introduced the world to the show tune standard, “Once In Love With Amy.”
The three-act low comedy has some slapstick and is family-friendly. A special morning performance for area school children is also scheduled.