High Dramma Sketch Commedy: Live in 3-D! is a completely original show written by a creative team of nine writers who also perform the material. As you enter the small store front space that makes up Walking Fish Theatre you are immediately handed 3-D glasses to go with your program. The evening starts off slowly as the cast brings out signs that read 3-D. They then proceed to undulate them back and forth to simulate a "3-D experience" for the audience. (Aren't they already in 3-D because they're not a movie? Guess that was the joke.) However, as the show unfolds, the skits, some short, some long get funnier and funnier. The best thing about this comedy troupe it that the sketches were equally divided between the male and female members of the cast. This is not always the case in comedy groups. According to Actor/Writer Jen Jaynes, "We tried very hard to make sure that the women got as much stage time as the men." And it showed, as there was a good balance between the sexes. Many times edgy comedy is a little too much "testosterone" laden.
There was a sketch about an undiscovered ukulele player who goes from becoming a Pop star to an ODing rock star; a sketch to the tune of "It's Raining Men" with all the male actors coming out into the audience dressed as Chippendale's displaying varying degrees of paunches and man boobs and lesbian love on Valentine's day that gets interrupted by a Pee Wee Herman type character. But my favorite sketch involved a callback for "West Side Story". Here, an actress and an actor have been called back for the roles of Tony and Maria. But as the audition proceeds we realize that Steve played byTodd Shaeffer does not want to be considered for Tony, but for Maria. They then proceed to have a sing off, with of course, "I Feel Pretty". Jen Jaynes does an admirable job as the female auditionee Sage, but of course the director picks Steve with his teeny-weeny hip hugger jean shorts slung down below his belly button and his sibilant S's on the end of every word. I don't know who was more of a screamer, Steve or the audience.
As segues between sketches, musician Chad Murla plays acoustic guitar and recites the lyrics to a myriad of hard core rap songs. The effect is consistently funny given the grotesque lyrics juxtaposed against the quiet strains of the guitar. The level of acting within the troupe varies with stand out performances by Sean Close (Guest Writer/Guest Actor) Todd Shaeffer, Jen Jaynes, Kelly McCaughan, Jackie Wolfson and Jason Singer. Most of the evening was directed by Johnny Smith, Artistic Director and Group Founder. Mr. Smith is usually one of the performers, but he is currently a part of the cast of "Amadeus" at the Walnut and was not available for performances this time around. The troupe does a brand new show every other month, using the month in between to develop and rehearse new material. Next month's show is entitled, "Biever Fever" Tickets are $15 with one performance being a Pay What you Roll (on the dice). For tickets call the box office at 215-427-9255 or log onto Walking Fish Theatre's website at www.walkingfishtheatre.com