nytheatre.com review by Judith Jarosz
August 21, 2008
This Chicago-based troupe presents an hour of comedy sketches of varying lengths, and on a wide variety of subjects. Some of these subjects are more "risky" and others "safer," though almost all are very funny. This is due to some clever scenes written, directed and executed by five very talented artists who are as diverse as their material. The performers include a tall brunette, Marla Caceres; sturdy, bearded Padraic Connelly; the curvaceous, red-haired Nancy Friedrich; and lean, gangly Jon Forsythe, who all work very well together and seem to enjoy what they do as much as we enjoy watching them. (The fifth contributor is director James Whittington.)
As I said, the subject matter varies greatly and most of the sketches involve dark twists, like the one with two corporate co-workers chatting cheerily from their respective cubicles as we slowly learn that she has an emotionally sadistic boyfriend and he still lives with his control freak mom who is nutritionally stuck in the 1950s. Or the sweet lady at the airport ticket stand, who turns into a robotic Nazi. As is usually the case with sketch comedy, occasionally some of the scenes ramble or fall flat. And some, such as the scene with the father talking through the bathroom door to his teen daughter reading instructions on how to insert a tampon, walk a challenging fine line between funny and uncomfortable. But it is really a credit to the performers that most scenes remain funny even as they turn darker.
There is sketch where Forsythe's character gets stuck on a roller coaster that works wonderfully due to his great physical comedic ability. As he keeps whipping around the track getting more and more frantic while his helpless friend stands by, you feel bad for him, but can't help laughing. It reminds me a lot of Steve Martin's work. Another scene has unicorns at a party making out, and let's just say that their horns take on a whole new meaning, with creative use of props, especially for the "climax."
Although there is no real story line throughout the piece, it starts out with Connelly miming putting a needle on a phonograph album, resulting in a scratchy voice of a director who introduces each cast member and starts off the show. We also hear from this voice at the end of the piece, as a way to wrap it up. Director/writer James Whittington makes great use of the stage area and props, and I can only assume that the simple set and lighting, which are not credited, are a group effort. I enjoyed watching this troupe and would definitely check them out again, and bring friends!