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BWW Reviews: Tziporela's ODD BIRDZ is Hysterical Sketch Comedy

Tziporela's ODD BIRDZ Logo.

Calling all New Yorkers and tourists: Don't feel blue if you didn't win the Saturday Night Live taping and/or rehearsal lottery. The award-winning Israeli slapstick theatre ensemble Tziporela is making their American debut with a five-week run at The Players Theatre with their show ODD BIRDZ. Until recently I had never heard of this group, but their zany and hysterical showcase of quality sketch comedy left me guffawing until I was hoarse. It's truly too good to miss.

Who doesn't love a good laugh? Tziporela's ODD BIRDZ offers 90 minutes worth of good, hearty laughs that'll leave your cheeks stinging from smiling and your gut sore. Across ODD BIRDZ's 22 scenarios, the Israeli troupe deftly entertains and delights with charismatic comedy that is unlike any of their competitors. Much of their production eradicates the language barrier by keenly crafting comedy that comes from physical reactions and primal, guttural communication of emotions and desires. When the company speaks, their Off-Broadway version of ODD BIRDZ utilizes the English language, Hebrew that is translated, or clips and phrases of other languages that are either well known or delivered with gestures that convey the meaning. To enjoy yourself you won't need Rosetta Stone or a crash course in Hebrew; all you'll need is a sense of humor.

Each member of Tziporela is a deft comedian or comedienne capable of eliciting full-bodied laughs from an audience with ease. However, because of the characters they assumed some did stand out over others. Playing a multitude of people in a cinema, Gal Friedman and Efrat Aviv tickle the audience's imaginations as they masterfully create a cinema full of people from different walks of life with different ideas about how one should behave when watching a movie. Dana Ivgy is fascinating and comical as she switches back and forth between a man and woman during the "This Thing Called Love" skit. Using just one word (or sound) at a time and timing it perfectly to a 90s pop music background, Tamara Klayngon, Lotus Etrog, Efrat Aviv, and Dana Ivgy make girl talk hilarious. In an attempt to keep terrorists out of Israel, Ben Perry as a Customs Officer, Tomer Nahir Petluk as his supervisor, and Danny Isserles as a passenger leave the audience rolling in the aisles.

Dana Ivgy & Ben Perry.

Other scenes that leave the audience in stitches include Ben Perry and Dana Igvy as a musical duo that turn popular songs like "Somethin' Stupid" on their heads by removing the romance from them. Likewise, Danny Isserles and Ben Perry's French janitors are humorous as they quip about different things pop culture celebrates. Efrat Aviv and Dana Ivgy had the audiences gasping for breath between laughs as two women outdoing one another's grieving at a graveside. Another standout is Gal Friedman and Tomer Nahir Petluk's crotchety old couple who disrupt the show when they begin to argue from the audience.

Just as Cirque du Soleil changed how the world envisioned circus, Tziporela is ready to change how we envision sketch comedy. Their unique brand of humor is always clever and sure to make anyone laugh without ever being too vulgar or crass. Some of their jokes and their occasional use of the F-word may not be appropriate for all audiences, but everyone who attends one of their productions is sure to have a marvelous time laughing with enthusiastic abandon.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Tziporela are only performing ODD BIRDZ for a total of 40 times in New York City, and a couple of those performances have already occurred. Don't miss your opportunity to see the remaining shows of ODD BIRDZ, playing at The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, New York City, New York 10012, now through November 19, 2014. Performances are Tuesday through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 5:00 & 8:00 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $65, and are $22 for students. For more information about and tickets Tziporela visit

You can also follow Tziporela on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Photos courtesy of Tziporela.

Efrat Aviv.

Ben Perry.

Dana Ivgy & Ben Perry.

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From This Author David Clarke