BWW Review: ALL THE LEAVES ARE GROUNDLINGS And The Laughs Are Grayt!
ALL THE LEAVES ARE GROUNDLINGS/written by The Groundlings/directed by Michael Naughton/Groundlings Theatre/thru November 23, 2019
The Groundlings, as always, bring the hilarity and the latest news-worthy topics to their current Friday and Saturday night show ALL THE LEAVES ARE GROUNDLINGS. Michael Naughton quite ably directs his very talented cast of eight (Matt Cook, Josh Duvendeck, Ryan Gaul, Patty Guggenheim, Kiel Kennedy, Lisa Schurga, Eliot Schwartz and Greg Worswick) in a fast-moving evening of fifteen laugh and/or groan-inducing skits. Just when you think they couldn't go any further, they do go there - mining raucous responses from the packed audience. In "Mama's Boy," Schurga and Worswick make your jaws drop in "Oh, no, they didn't!" in their way-too-intimate mother-and-son dance at Worswick and Guggenheim's wedding reception. But you empathize with Guggenheim's stunned reactions and cheer for Worswick's expert pole dancing.
A true ensemble, these eight each take the lead in the sketches they write, then step back in strong support of their fellow performers getting their respective time in the spotlight.
Current events included the college admission scandals and the #MeToo movement.
Worswick brilliantly solos in "Valedictorian" as he bungles word definitions and pronunciations hysterically. Turns out he was elected valedictorian when the first and second choice - a Loughlin and a Macy - were eliminated.
Schurga and Guggenheim in male drag gives the audience a lecture on proper office behavior in "Us Too." Picking an attractive young woman from the audience, they proceed to demonstrate - on her - the safe and unsafe body parts to touch, while always complimenting her brain. And what Schyrga and Guggenheim expose next has the audience screaming. Too funny!
Kudos to the uncredited persons providing the on point costumes, wigs, fake body hair, and 'extra' body parts.
Gaul (with his fake body hair), Schwartz (with his accentuated pectoral protrusions), Kennedy and Worswick strip down to their tighty-whites in "Fruit of the Loom," as awkwardly funny amateur models at their first underwear shoot.
Gaul and Schurga make the perfect long-time married couple in "Surprise." Reasoning Schurga's current medical situation with facts and fears illicit much laughs.
Guggenheim steals centerstage as a Sugar Babe in "Sugar Babies." Her baby doll voice and her dropping of 'R's in various words heightens the aggravation of Schurga and Cook as the adult children of Kennedy, the Sugar Daddy. And then they have to witness Kennedy and Guggenheim sloppy, sloppy kissing.
Duvendeck and Cook shine as Disney ride guides in "Storybook." Both their canned robotic spiels keep interrupting Guggenheim and Schwartz, the only two passengers on their boat.
Gaul and Guggenheim turn into a most seductive pair of inebriated non-slut, non-pig couple in "Goodnights are Hard."
Schwartz grabs his moment to shine in "La Quinta' as the employee sharing a hotel room with his boss Duvendeck. Schwartz has to make up a bedtime story to put Duvendeck to sleep, despite the many interruptions and corrections Duvendeck makes.
A constant at every Friday/Saturday Groundlings show, the Groundlings Band (Greg Kanaga on drums, Larry Treadwell on guitar, and musical director Matthew Loren Cohen on keyboards) providing ROC-king musical interludes during the scene-changes. This smoking trio starts the evening off with "California Dreaming." In case, you're not familiar, the first line is "All the leaves are..."
Cast members may differ between show-to-show, but genuine laughs can always be counted on at The Groundlings.