by Nick Smith
Last week we warned that certain Piccolo shows (PURE's Speech & Debate and the Village Playhouse's [title of show]) were not suitable for minors. The same goes for Piccolo Fringe shows.
If the tentacular one-eyed monster on their stage set isn't enough of a clue, it's worth clarifying that Theatre 99's shows aren't for little kids. Typically, the venue's comedies are PG-13 rated, but nobody knows quite what will come out of the performers' mouths — least of all the performers themselves.
A case in point: Chicago-based comedy duo Michael Patrick O'Brien and Lyndsay Nicole Hailey, who call themselves "Big White Angels." For their first Piccolo Fringe show, they started off with four written sketches. They taught the audience a standing-still dance, introduced a silly morning host, and portrayed a couple out of sync.
The dashes of mature humor and groping didn't seem to faze the one curly-haired child in the audience. But for the rest of the show the Angels improvised and the boy learned some new words, vagina being one. He was also introduced to the concept of pussy eating and, most educational of all, a girl playing a boy kissing a man.
The kid left with his parents and missed the last 20 minutes of the gig. Who knows how much his vocabulary would have been expanded if he'd stayed?
Outside, the boy was heard saying, "I told you we shouldn't have gone in," to which his dad replied that out of all the shows they'd seen that day, "the one at the church was my favorite."
Lest you think that the Angels are just a pair of potty mouthed shockers, they also came up with several funny moments. Their two teen characters were too poor to pick up unbroken shells from the beach. They had an interestingly mixed-up take on historical events, particularly Martin Luther King's assassination of President Lincoln and his subsequent imprisonment from stealing pixie sticks from a 7/11. SNL writer O'Brien, with a pudding bowl haircut and a Lee Van Cleef squint, was great as Daryl the data entry manager mesmerized by his employee's fast typing and girl parts. He was just nerdy enough to illicit laughs without being creepy.
O'Brien and Hailey certainly kept the adults amused, and their show is a cautionary example for families. The moral: Explore, be adventurous, but watch out for comedians dropping stray F-bombs.