You Gotta Be a Do Right, Late Night Man
Late Night Players satisfy their audience’s desires (to laugh)
Zach Sherwin, Aaron Kagan, Andrew Slack, and Seth Reibstein have roiling energy — which may seem like a given for a comedy group, but it’s actually not always the case. Especially in the tiny Buxton’s East Bay Theatre, it would be very easy for performers to yield and lower their energy level. But the Late Night Players do not fall into the trap. Instead, they fill the theatre with their shouts, their exaggerated gestures, and their wild dancing as if it were an arena.
However, they maintain an intimacy with the audience, making eye contact with every person in the room and addressing the crowd frequently (even the ones with ringing cell phones. Grrr.).
They have a hearty mix of topical humor and classic gags: they take jabs at various cell phone company slogans in one sketch, and then do a God and Jesus bit. LNP’s diversity is one of their strongest points. They showcase their various strengths and styles very well. Their chemistry is fantastic, and they use their personas to great effect in interactions with each other.
There are a couple monologues in the show, one performed by Aaron and the other by Zach. They contrast perfectly. Aaron’s is highly reminiscent of a young Kevin McDonald, both in subject matter and delivery; and Zach’s is a rap about an ex, which he performs to a backing track.
Some of the sketches have either too abrupt or fizzled-out endings, that bane of sketch comedy. But when they end at just the right spot, it’s hilarious.
The group uses film in the show, and most of the content is back and forth political-style ads (although the subject matter isn’t typical) á la SNL. They’re very funny, and they break up the scenes well.
And in spite of the bad wigs, Aaron as a fickle wife and Andrew as a lonely dog owner (in a particularly disturbing and side-splitting sketch) play women rather skillfully.
It’s not the most complex or sophisticated comedy, but it doesn’t have to be — it’s still pretty darn funny. Those familiar with the group will be delighted to know that their traditions, having a dance-off and concocting anagrams, are still included in the new show. (It’s astonishing how they stuff a four-man vivacious dance number onto the stage at Buxton’s.) And if you’re not familiar with the group, you’ll soon discover what all the “Worm! Worm!” hooplah is about. It’s well deserved hooplah, indeed.
Late Night Players: Live and Nude • Piccolo Spoleto’s Piccolo Fringe • $15 • (1 Hr) • May 30, 31 at 7:30 p.m.; June 1, 2 at 7 p.m. • Buxton’s East Bay Theatre, 184 East Bay St. • 554-6060