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Genteelly impoverished Oxonians, sweet young Edwardian maidens sans chaperons, cranky old bankers, long-lost Brazilian aunts: This is the stuff of timeless farce, or at least it is when it’s presented with more snap than the Olney Theatre’s company brings to Charley’s Aunt. The intricate craziness of John Going’s production feels too carefully choreographed; actors count out beats and steps almost visibly as they negotiate its studied hilarities. But the bones of Brandon Thomas’ 1892 script are sturdy enough, and at its best, Going’s richly appointed production puts some surprisingly real flesh on them: Its characters seem genuinely human as often as not, and their relationships feel unexpectedly sweet and true. Ian LeValley makes the most of the inevitable butler’s ironic sideline observations; Colleen Delaney, Alan Wade, and Halo Wines do fine, warm work as the only three more or less sensible people among the lot; and if Peter Wylie and Jon Cohn can’t quite make sense of their giddy-idiot young gentlemen, the weakness is probably as much auctorial as actorial. Erik Steele mines a wealth of broad laughs from the central, cross-dressing part of the young lord who impersonates the lady of the title. (The boys need Charley’s aunt on hand to supervise an afternoon of wooing if they’re to seal the deal with their very proper sweethearts, and Steele’s Lord Fancourt Babberly just happens to be rehearsing a drag part for a college theatrical when Wines’ Donna Lucia is unexpectedly delayed.) But the actor demonstrates his real gifts in the final few moments, when the story lets him have a quiet moment with the object of his own affections (Briana Lynn Banks’ exquisite innocent, Ela Delahay). Somehow, amid all the forced laughter, the two of them create an instant of honest feeling—and the moment’s warm glow is more rewarding than all the sparkle that surrounds it. —Trey Graham