All About The Comedy is rather like the curate's egg-good in parts. It was written and performed by an extremely talented group of performers, some of whom showed an innate sense of comic timing; those without that gift had to work harder for the laughs.
The sketches satirize and exploit a cross-section of modern life, from the opening monologue on physical fitness and dieting - well delivered by Elisabeth Furtado - to the somewhat weak finale, Fish Story, involving the whole company. A program of this nature always presents challenges, in that every sketch cannot be universally funny-audiences have varying senses of humor. Thus it is best to pick out the sketches that seemed better written, rather than funnier-generally because they had more depth than appeared on the surface. In order of preference, they are as follows: Bohack-which made two appearances in the program-was skillful in its satirizing of the songs of the '70s and '80s made popular by television shows, such as Mary Tyler Moore; it was very funny. Bricken Sparacino gave a valid spin toCrystal-concerning a 30-year-old female desperately searching for a husband. Snobble's Soiree was a clever satire on any period piece, whether Masterpiece Theatre, Shakespeare, or Restoration Comedy. This was a little too long-the joke wore thin, especially given the uneven British accents. Tony Sposato had a delightful voice, and his first song was mildly amusing, but his second piece was not only boringly crass, it was an insult to his talent. Samantha Lally's piece, evoking the popular myths of what a dancer is thought to be, was fun.
Michael Birch and Rick Homan are truly gifted writers, but the choice and subject matter of one of the pieces - The One Issue Candidate -were poor-perhaps because the real-life election comedy was a hard act to follow. The Ball Game was certainly well written, although a thorough knowledge of baseball would no doubt make for improved appreciation. Vilotec, by Bricken Sparacino, was an amusing female comment on Viagra.
The rest of the cast, Robert Mess, Daniel Kaufman, Jim Wisniewski (great speaking voice), and Natalie Wilder (who had the most believable British accent in the Snobble sketch) rounded out a truly talented group. The whole production was smoothly directed by Bricken Sparacino, but it needs to be trimmed by about ten minutes.
The props and costumes by Sparacino and Furtado were imaginative and worked well. The lights and sound design of Ian Tooley were most effective. The set provided a perfect backdrop for the whole show.
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Copyright 2001 Sheila Mart