Saturday, May 29, 2010

Big laughs at Schmee's Silverstein feast

A talented cast and some bawdy material added up to a fun evening of laughs at the Theater Schmeater production of An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein, directed by Julia Griffin.

All 10 one-act plays on the evening were gems:

The auctioneer (Ashley Bagwell) ogles the goods (Alyssa Keene)
in "Going Once", one of 10 one-act plays in
An Adult Evening of
Shel Silverstein. It plays at Theater Schmeater through
June 12. Photo by Regan MacStravic.
Jen and Sherwin play a high-stakes game of who-do-you-save? in "The Lifeboat is Sinking." A forceful Lisa Viertel ultimately convinces Matthew Middleton that it's his mother that needs to be tossed into the drink to save the rest of the family.

"Smile" is a great one, in which Gibby (Middleton) is harshly interrogated by Snooky (Ashley Bagwell), Bender (Alyssa Keene), and Jimbo (Sara Coates). They take Gibby out back and do him in for designing the smiley face and coming up with a variety of grievous pop-culture catch phrases over the years.

Viertel is again brilliant as Georgia, the proprietor of "Watch and Dry," a laundry facility in which nothing gets clean, much to the dismay of Marianne (Megan Ahiers). Marianne is about to turn in Georgia to the Better Business Bureau, only to learn that Georgia really has gone through Marianne's dirty laundry to learn things about her that the authorities would be most interested in. Life lessons, just $2.50 per load.

"Thinking Up a New Name for the Act" is a play with only three words--meat and potatoes--yet the entire domestic scene, murder, trial, and execution are easy to follow. Coates swings a mean frying pan.

Bagwell is at the center of two sex-for-sale segments. He auctions off Keene like a horse in "Going Once."

In "Buy One, Get one Free,"
Bagwell plays Lee,
potential John to hookers Merrilee and Sherilee.
The sketch is funny, you see
Because each line ends in rhyme with tee-hee!

Keene and Ahiers are the two-for floozies.

Michael D. Blum turns in one of the best man-plays-dog performances ever. This time he's a talking dog, Barney, who can't seem to convince his human, down-and-out blues singer Blind Willie (John Q. Smith) that a talking dog would be a more profitable act than blues singer in a deserted alley.

Blum and Viertel also are great in "Bus Stop", in which Blum carries a sign that is modified to read "Bust Stop" and the two of them lustily think up all the alternate names they can for hooters and Johnsons.

Coates is hilarious as a bag lady in the making in "One Tennis Shoe." Finally, Smith and Ahiers are fabulous in "The Best Daddy." This is the one of the plays my Sweetie, the official scorer, and I had seen before. It was part of the first Death/Sex production at Balagan Theatre back in February of 2009.

Hey, I mentioned them all! This is great material and the cast is truly outstanding. An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein at Theater Schmeater is a lot of fun. It runs through June 12, but tickets have been going rapidly, so order yours early.

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