Jet Eveleth and Holly Laurent’s ode to multiple personality disorder opened last night at Theatre 99, kicking off three weeks of quality comedy lined up for Piccolo Fringe.
Alright, it’s not really an ode to multiple personality disorder. The Chicago comediennes, members of iO Theater, have woven together a collection of scenes that loosely link back to a fictional TV show called I Live Next Door to Horses. But the girls play so many different characters, so very well, I left the theatre almost stunned that I’d only been watching two people.
The show begins and ends with two old ladies in a nursing home watching their “programs” together. Eveleth and Laurent’s youthful prettiness are quickly forgotten as they take on the tics and cricks of two very old, very close friends.
A few minutes later, they’re spastic, awkward school girls, taking a test and trading delightfully childish insults.
Other characters they play include a crazy theme-song singing cab/bus driver, two fat ladies at a buffet line, a little boy, and British socialites who find out they’re dating the same man.
The most impressive scene had Eveleth and Laurent playing a number of different characters, set to cheesy upbeat ’80s music. Centered around a boy who takes a robot to prom, the scene reflects all the goofy goodness of a sitcom from the Reagan era.
While that scene is a standout, the one that’s sure to stick in everyone’s mind is one centered around Barb Lemeter, a hyper, quivering, somersaulting little girl who squirms around her bedroom writing letters to celebrities. This crazy character, played by Eveleth (she says she’s working on a pilot for The Barb Lemeter Show) brings a quick comparison to Gilda Radner’s awkward Lisa Lupner, for all you old school Saturday Night Live fans. Her mannerisms are also reminiscent of Amy Poehler’s Kaitlin, for the new schoolers.
The two have incredible chemistry together, but Eveleth tends to stand out as the one player most-likely-to-make-it-big-time. (As a matter of fact, she recently auditioned for SNL.) She’s the one rolling around on the floor, grabbing her crotch, whose every facial expression is a little bit of comedic genius.
But that’s not to poo on Laurent. She tends to play the straight man to Eveleth’s oddball, but that’s certainly a significant part to play. The two evenly collaborate in the writing of the scenes.
This show almost got my recommendation as a family show, until the very last scene — not that that’s a bad thing. It was freakin’ hilarious. Now, if your kid hasn’t been introduced to the furry euphemism for a certain female body part and isn’t going to question why that cat might be feeling a little lonely, or a bit cottonmouthed, then toss ’em in the Honda Odyssey and head on down to Theatre 99. If your kids understand all that, then, yeah, stay away unless you want a visit from DSS.
Don’t miss another episode of I Live Next Door to Horses. Also catch the ladies performing with their larger improv group, The Reckoning.
I Live Next Door to Horses • Piccolo Fringe • $15 • 1 hour 30 min. • May 24 at 5 p.m.; May 25 at 8:30 p.m.• Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St. • (843) 724-7305