I’m gonna try to keep this short.
If I were to place a watermelon in a field and fire a barrage of 15 arrows, odds are that some are going to miss the target. Others might graze it, and some might be a dead-on bullseye. That’s the idea behind Midtown’s recurring production Short Attn Span Thtr, a show that provides shifting entertainment through vignettes, parodies, sketches, and short films.
The Best of SAST, the Piccolo Spoleto offering, is at times hilarious, at times odd, and at times just flat. Like any sketch comedy show, some premises work and some fizzle out before the first joke has even bombed. A very topical and smart sketch set in the Roman Republic and dealing with the announced death of Hannibal is followed by a long and painful conversation with a Tyler Perry polar bear. When the scenes are good, they are very good (a scene about a troublesome neighbor features better writing and comedic delivery than the entirety of MAD TV). When they’re bad, it kind of makes you wonder how they made it to the “Best of” lineup.
Almost half of the show comes in the form of short films, featuring not just the cast of SAST but local Charleston actors who have appeared at Midtown before. If you know your way around the Chucktown theater scene, you are in for some cameos. The films themselves are quite good, though the projector was plagued with technical issues that quickly got distracting. Where the live sketches can sometimes get bogged down in being overly long and thus wear out their welcome, the filmed scenes seem to gain momentum as they go. This isn’t always the case, some of these films are downright strange, but for the most part the quality is there. An all-puppet music video for Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise” is, well, all that needs to be said.
There is something for everyone here. The eclectic collection of scenes will appeal to almost any comedic palette (audience members were all laughing, though very rarely all at once). It’s a night of lighthearted farce, parodies of songs, and Hitchcock and Saved by the Bell. They can’t all be gold. Some of them have to be bronze. Some, unfortunately, won’t even place. But if that bothers you, don’t worry. The next one’s coming up in 10 minutes.