High Society Santa Barbarans Stage “Kiss Me Kate”
for a Play Within a Play Within a Novel

Set in Loma Bella, a thinly disguised Old Spanish-looking city on the coast of California, Kissing Kate is a no-holds-barred comedy of errors, a bedroom farce, a social satire featuring the idle rich seniors who inhabit a luxury retirement community on the edge of a country club golf course. How these folks keep busy is the source of the book’s great wealth of humor, and most of it has to do with the way they fool themselves while they try (and usually fail) to fool each other.

This novel is all about façade, deceit, and imposture. Nearly every character in the book is a phony of one kind or another: a closet homosexual, a phony English nobleman, a womanizing pastor, a domestic servant who spies on her employers, a cheating golfer, a variety of adulterers, and…even the hero wears a toupee. Talk about thin disguises.

They even fool themselves into thinking they can put on a smash-hit local production of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate. For anyone who has ever participated in amateur theatricals, Kissing Kate will bring back dreams of glory and nightmares of flops. Author Bradford Dillman—himself a veteran (professional) actor from stage, screen, and television—concocts an unlikely but miraculous farce within a farce within a farce, the miracle being that
the show actually comes off beautifully.

Like some of the zaniest humorists in American literature, writers like Thorne Smith, Max Shulman, Patrick Dennis, and Armistead Maupin, Dillman makes us care about his characters at the same time we’re laughing out loud at them. But don’t ask him if Loma Bella resembles Santa Barbara in any way. He’s a practiced liar.

About the Author. Bradford Dillman spent forty years performing on stage, screen, and television. In 1993 he retired to devote himself to writing. He is the author of Inside the New York Giants, Are You Anybody?, Dropkick, and That Air Forever Dark. He lives and writes in Santa Barbara, California.


Kissing Kate
Bradford Dillman
ISBN 1-56474-447-7
240 pages, paperback, $14.95

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