If you go see The Complete History of Charleston for Morons expecting a lecture on the completely complete history of Charleston, you're going to be disappointed. The script leaps wildly from one subject to another as if said history has been siphoned through dim memories of high school lessons from a half-cocked teacher. Don't be fooled by the moronic pretext, though — this is actually an entertaining, useful primer on local lore.
Writers Greg Tavares, R.W. Smith, and Caleb Usry care about their subject and it shows. They hit all the major points of Charleston's existence, including the struggles of the early settlers, an attempted Spanish invasion, the Revolutionary War, the antebellum era, and the Great Earthquake of 1886. If, like the members of the public interviewed in a short film at the beginning of the show, your regional knowledge is lacking, then Morons will help fill in the blanks.
But Tavares and co. do it with such wit and effervescence that this doesn't feel educational. The info never gets in the way of a good gag, with parodies of The Patriot, Gone With the Wind, Survivor, and The Situation Room giving the show a contemporary edge.
Tavares is aided by Smith and Usry, all three of them playing multiple characters. Rather than focusing solely on major historical figures, they often take the little guy's perspective on history — Civil War soldiers, plantation workers, 17th-century weathermen, and modern-day barbecue fanatics. Pay attention, and after 70 minutes of worm's-eye-view history, you won't feel like a fact-lacking moron any more. —Nick Smith
The Complete History of Charleston for Morons • Piccolo Spoleto's Piccolo Fringe • $15 • (1 hour 10 min.) • May 25 at 7 p.m.; May 26, June 9 at 2 p.m.; May 27 at 3 p.m.; June 3 at 4 p.m. • Theater 99, 280 Meeting St. • 554-6060