BWW Review: THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS: THE ELECTION SPECIAL at 1812 Productions
1812 Productions opens their 2016/17 season with the hilarious THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS: THE ELECTION SPECIAL. This show provides a respite from the chaos of this current election season, and delivers the gift of laughter to the audience no matter which side of the political aisle you are on. Personally, I felt this show provided a perfect escape from the madness of this year's political season, and it was a pure two hours of laughter. Everything about this show was brilliant from the writing to the use of digital media to the impersonations and skits. This is one show that you will be sorry if you miss this season, especially if you have the election time blues.
THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS is an annual show, and it is a political comedy that features the current headlines. The complete title of the show this year is THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS: THE ELECTION SPECIAL, and it is a witty satire about the 2016 election season. In this production both candidates are equally mocked and the entire cast does some of the best impersonations I have seen this season.
I do not want to go into all the skits because I do not want to ruin the show or the surprises that are part of the show. One of the things that makes this type of show so enjoyable is not knowing exactly what you will see, in addition the show keeps changing as the headlines change. However, I will mention a few impersonations that were done extremely well. Alex Bechtel's impersonation of Donald Trump is spot-on. He does Trump's mannerisms in a perfectly hilarious manner, and he has audiences laughing throughout the show. Jennifer Child's Hillary Clinton is also accurate and she has thoroughly captured her body language. In addition, much of the second act was anchored by Sean Close who channels the likes of Stephen Colbert or John Oliver in delivering the news stories of the day. He does a superb job at keeping the pace quick and the audience engaged.
Where this show also shines is through the ensemble of the show. Alex Bechtel, Jennifer Childs, Nia-Samara Benjamin, Sean Close, Dave Jadico and Justin Jain all show off their comedic genius in this production. The entire cast is credited with writing the show, and Bechtel and Childs also serve as the directors. Besides the comedy, another area where THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS excels is the use of digital media. The use of this media adds to each scene, and Jorge Cousineau needs commended for his clever video design. The production all around is outstanding with the appropriate costumes designed by Jillian Keys, the wonderful scenic design by Lance Kniskern and the lighting design by Peter Escalada-Mastick.
I honestly cannot say enough positive things about THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS at 1812 productions. One last thing I will mention is as much as there is a lot of material that is hilarious and will keep the audience laughing throughout the show, there is also an element to the show that shows the cast does take this election cycle seriously and there are a few moment that you find yourself considering where we are today and how we reached this point. Artistic Director, Jennifer Childs, sums this up best in her notes in the program. She writes, "As a comedian I have found this election cycle to be the comedic gift that keeps on giving. As an American, however, I have found it deeply troubling. The old Will Rogers joke, "a fool and his money are soon elected," seems less like a punchline and more like a warning." I commend this cast for making the audience laugh for a full two hours, and I applaud them for at times reminding us that this election and our political process in general are of great importance to who we are as a country and a society.
Do not miss a chance to see THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS: THE ELECTION SPECIAL at 1812 Productions. It runs through November 7, 2016. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.1812productions.org or call the box office at 215-592-9560.
Photo Credit: Mark Garvin