Peggy Sue Dunigan

The Show

By - Dec 8th, 2008 02:52 pm
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Reminding Milwaukee once again that the “Yuletide has a dark side,” In Tandem Theatre Company reintroduces parodies and sketch comedy in The Show. The fourteen sketches, written and performed by local actors Karen Estrada, Matthew Huebsch, Doug Jarecki, Andrea Moser and Jason Powell, combine new and old material that provide a counterpoint to the sentimental overload during of the holiday season. This two-hour production would make any Christmas Scrooge grin and these performers bring an inventive sense of comic timing to the stage. The Show is full of intelligent, witty and hilarious dialogue and lyrics, which are recommended for those over the age of thirteen.

The entire evening evokes the retro feel of a 70s television variety program with contemporary updates. Each sketch showcases these talented actors. A favoritepresentation could only be chosen with considerable difficulty because the cast works together through each number as a team, interchanging roles and costumes flawlessly. Several highlights include “Past, Present, and Future Tense” which portrays the ghosts of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol ruminating on helping Ebenezer. Also excellent is the musical rendition of “Beer Goggles” that recalls the impaired judgment of a New Year’s Eve party in which an inebriated couple recites a love song to one another. You can also watch Mary and Joseph struggle through “Couple’s Therapy” which provides a bit of human insight to the marriage consummated after the immaculate conception of Jesus. The finale, “Wrap It Up,” concludes the evening on a high note of rhyme with St. Nick rapping together with his back-up dancing elves.

The only concern for this delightfully irreverent show became the performer’s attire. Throughout the evening, especially when out of the minimal costumes, their appearance might have been a bit more formal, all black or elegantly casual. This could have heightened the parody while creating a wonderful complement to the sparse stage adding an element of holiday pizzazz.

Kudos to In Tandem and these five performers who provide an alternative to overdosing on sugary themes with satiric spice. Honoring the tradition of sketch comedy The Show will enlighten any December weekend with comical, but slightly deviant seasonal cheer. VS

In Tandem Theatre Company presents The Show at the Tenth Street Theatre through December 20. For tickets: 414-271-1371.

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