BWW Review: Hysterical GARBAGE PAIL GROUNDLINGS - So Much Tasty Laughter You Need a Doggy Bag
GARBAGE PAIL GROUNDLINGS/written by The Groundlings/directed by Deanna Oliver/Groundlings Theatre/thru September 23, 2017
The Groundlings' latest laugh-packed Friday & Saturday night show GARBAGE PAIL GROUNDLINGS offers a bountiful buffet of tasty guffaws and hearty chortles in the course of fourteen hilarious treats served by seven comic impresarios. Deanna Oliver smartly directs her outrageously talented cast at a pace with sufficient enough pause to hear the next line after all the audience's laughing. No need to worry about missing the next line of dialogue from laughing too loud (which can happen in lesser directorial hands). As in Groundlings' custom, the writer of the skit usually takes the lead in his or hers creation with the others in the troupe providing more than able support. And, in seeing a number of Groundlings shows now, I've noticed the Groundlings' selfless practice of fully supporting the leads/writers of any given sketch; never trying to steal focus, participating even if only for one line or quick entrance and exit. So group-centric vs. egocentric. So commendable.
Not to spoil the two of the fourteen sketches ending with surprise twists; suffice to say they were very cleverly written by Kiel Kennedy and Laurel Coppock.
Chris Eckert and Lyric Lewis co-wrote "Okay," in which Eckert plays a just-jilted lover in a mall vocally taking over the common area, with Lewis nearby trying to carry on a phone conversation. Eckert attempts to out-diva Lewis and Lewis won't have any of it. Their back and forth diss and sad stories make for a relatable, woeful encounter you'd never want to be in, but, as a fly on the wall, comic gold!
In "Shred It," Coppock plays a clueless mom to her young son (Tony Cavalero), who's trying to stream his workout routine online to his like-aged followers without his mother on camera in the background. Coppock's alternate version of any (and all) of Cavalero's exercises is to dab. Sweetly funny!
Eckert with Patty Guggenheim portray Disney geeks (in 'Single Rider") waiting in the singles line for a Disney ride while the couples line moves way faster than theirs. Their awkward kissing almost grossly funny, alternating between Ewww! and Awww! Brilliant!
The Kennedy and Cavalero's physical comedy proficiencies in "Wild Goose Chase" simply ramp up the tender crying of these two macho bikers trying to arrange a funeral for their departed biker buddy. You want to shred a tear right with these two lugs!
Julian Gant displays his nimble footwork as a fast-footed karate-dispensing judge in "Judge Martin" and, then, as a auditioning backup dancer for JLo with Cavalero in "T-Work."
Cavalero totally owns his solo moment in the spotlight in "The Suit" as he enters the audience area in his tighty whiteys. His character has invented an impenetrable body suit, so thin, it's almost invisible. His sales spiel (with lots of jibberish) for his is-it-really-there? armor includes audience participation to demonstrate the effectiveness of Cavalero's non-existent outfit. A visible handprint on Cavalero's stomach appears after a willing audience member whole-heartedly slaps him. The crowd-rousing skit continues with Cavalero repeatedly 'enduring' proof that his invention works. Cavalero shows how far he would go for his art. Tooooo funny!
With all the 'female love' for the movie Wonder Woman, how timely to hear two women (the very animated pair of Lewis and Guggenheim) question some of the ambiguous elements of the box office hit. Quite side-splitting this sketch "Arclight!"
In the improv "Toast It," Lewis only had minutes to craft a break-up revenge song for an open mike. At the performance I attended, director Oliver asked for a true break-up story from someone in the audience. The relating of this true life incident from audience member Di became a fantastically entertaining bit in itself. Lewis, with her strong vocals, followed up with an original song with rhymes and rational lyrics. Lewis nailed it!
"The Silly Willies" has children's show stars Coppock and Cavalero arguing with lots of swearing between acting out the ridiculously-named children song titles and lyrics. Even Coppock and Cavalero couldn't stop themselves from cracking up.
The always incredibly smoking Groundlings Band (Greg Kanaga on drums, Larry Treadwell on guitar, and musical director Matthew Loren Cohen on keyboards) consistently rocks the house during all the quick, efficient set changes. As I say each time I see a Groundlings show, the hard-driving, energizing song selections the Groundlings Band perform has got to be the only time I would ever wished that the set changes to take their time, so that more Groundlings Band musicality could be heard. Included were the Groundlings Band's rendition of jumping EVITA's "Buenos Aires" and Earth, Wind & Fire toe-tapping "Fantasy."
A huge shout-out to the un-credited person/s behind the incredible wigs and costumes that greatly complement the crazy Groundlings characters.
Go for a laugh, get a hundred of them! Good workout for your ab/laugh muscles.