Spoleto 2007 » Comedy

REVIEW ‌ Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company

UCBTourCo provokes the heartiest of laughs in no-holds-barred improv

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Oh, Yes, They Went There
UCBTourCo showcase their signature twisted humor in a most professional way

If you were waiting for the antithesis of Harvard Sailing Team, here it is: spontaneous, raucous comedy with generous cursing and plenty of references to people’s naughty bits.
The humor is not, however, merely lowbrow pandering to people’s dumbest funny-bone sensibilities; rather, it’s intelligent and sharp. But given that the comedians are coming from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, you have to expect high quality anyway.
Performers Eli Newell, Bobby Moynihan, Anthony King, Eugene Cordero, and Shannon O'Neill have astonishing chemistry and thoughtful interaction with each other. Their individual personalities inform everything they do and provide for extra connection and relatability with the audience.
The show is divided into two sets of longform improv. The first half is based on an audience-suggested phrase. In Sunday’s case, that was “That’s the ticket,” whereupon the troupe launched into several scenes using “ticket” as a springboard. (Here are the Cliff’s Notes to longform improv 101: performers “tag” each other, either when a scene is losing its steam or when they want to step in and say something, and elements of scenes interconnect, bringing jokes full circle.) For the second half, they sift through the contents of an audience member’s wallet or purse and use the story of the person as their inspiration.
These guys are pros. It may look like they’re fooling around, but they’re following the standards of improv to their fullest and most disciplined. The group members are perfect in their mime and continuity, precise in their characterizations, and intuitive in defining premises (yet then running off like madmen into uncharted territory).
Of course you won’t see the same bits, but here’s a few examples of the kind of shrewd madness you can expect: A meeting between gang members where, via Powerpoint presentation, they try to peacefully divide territory. After the suggestion is made of “why don’t we just shoot each other when we see each other on the street?” Cordero’s character agrees, “that would be more gang-y.” Then there’s the cop who’s possessed by the soul of a cock-blocked barfly followed by an ocean who spreads the secrets that girls mistakenly entrust to the briny deep.
If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, see if you can still get one. But we gave you plenty of notice, slacker, so don’t blame us if you’ve missed your chance.

Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company • Piccolo Spoleto’s Piccolo Fringe • $15 • (1 hour) • June 4 at 8 p.m.; June 8 at 10 p.m.; June 9 at 7:30 p.m. • Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St. • 554-6060

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