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BWW Reviews: STAGE 2 IMPROV Laughs into Naples

Maybe improv does have a future in Naples.

Stage 2 Improv - "the next stage of comedy" (insert eye roll here) - served up a loud, lively, way-better-than-I expected debut in the Naples Players' black box space Friday night.

There are some funny folks roaming the streets. And not just the actors!

The comedy at Stage 2 is strong. Exceptionally so. Stage 2 cast well, looking not for acting skills or pretty faces, but wits, brains and comic timing. Robin Williams these kids are not - but they know how to get a laugh. You try to mime scrubbing a toilet with a cucumber and spit? Or peeling a cactus with a pair of dentures? Friday's cast included: Synthia DuBose, Kat Ebaugh, Guy Glover, Brad Goetz, Meg Pryor, Judith Gangi Santos, Mike Santos, Bukki Sittler and Nancy Swartz. Other permanent cast members include: JamieLynn Bucci, Casey Debrowski and Steven Johnson.

Mike Santos carries a large portion of the show; his infectious energy feels like a live wire let loose into his fellow cast members and the crowd. Whether emceeing the silly skits or trying to guess how you speed-walk with otters as shoes, he makes the show.

Other, unexpected talents emerge. Brad Goetz wins the night's first talent game, a sing-off with Madonna's "Holiday." His quick wit and effervescent manner make for wonderfully silly viewing. More music and more Brits for Brad please. Kat Ebaugh sparkles. Both she and Bukki Sittler anchor the daffy ensemble and prove quick on the quip draw.

Former Neapolitan Meg Pryor, who taught in the Naples Players KidzAct program, returns to take part in Stage 2. A professional actress now teaching dance at CAP21 in New York City, Pryor adds a great deal of musical theatre talent and a swift, sassy charm to the show. She single-handedly saves a song segment involving a very nice, well-meaning woman from the audience who volunteers for an improv skit, then goes completely blank when asked: "What do you like to do?"



"Walk on the beach?"

These are the dangers of audience participation. Especially in Southwest Florida.

There's good stuff happening with Stage 2. Quick wits abound - and comedy happens on a scale I didn't expect. Once the kinks get worked out, Stage 2 might have to start looking for Stage 3!

Chris Silk is the arts writer and theater critic for the Naples Daily News. To read the longer version of this review, go to:

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