Monday, June 9, 2014

Theater Review: Full House Re-Enactment at Frank's / Puppet Show Preview: The Return of The Felt Show With Electric Needle Room

Fast, frenetic, and frequently very funny, Card Table Theatre's sitcom re-enactments already feel like an LFK touchstone, a worthy successor to fill the void left by the late great Victor Continental Show.  If last night's Full House re-enactment didn't attract the same rabid fanbase as the previous Saved By The Bell installment, it still easily filled the basement at Frank's for an 8:00 and 10:00 show.

For us, most of the evening's highlights came not from the sitcom re-enactment itself, but rather the commercial parodies and condensed re-enactment of a film (in this case, Speed, an inspired choice, complete with creatively low-budget explosions). These elements of the evening seem to offer more possibilities for artistic creativity and weirdness, such as exploring the potential homosexual subtext of a Hillshire Farms commercial or cleverly merging Keanu's bullet-dodging moves from The Matrix within the confines of Speed

But what about the sitcom portion of the evening?  With Saved by the Bell earlier this year, the group's choice of a very familiar "very special episode" (diet pills) worked well, with much of the audience anticipating the lines and the episode itself containing enough over-the-top histrionics (and musical interludes) to keep the unfamiliar entertained as well.  Last night's Full House episode, however, didn't seem to offer much to differentiate it from any other strained and conventional episode of the series. Using an actual laugh track was a great choice, though, as it allowed the audience to ponder what the Full House writers intended to be funny, most of which the live audience did not actually laugh at.  For what it's worth, we'd like to see the troupe branch out in future installments and tackle something besides a bad sitcom.  Tackling a good sitcom (Cheers? Seinfeld?) would be a challenge, but it would be interesting to see these talented funnyfolks test their comic chops and timing with actual good sitcom writing.  Another idea would be to re-enact, say, a prime-time soap, maybe a Dallas or a Dynasty, and revel in the heightened emotions (and sex!).  Or perhaps just loosen the rules a little bit and not completely stick to the sitcom script: it would be pretty awesome to see a Three's Company episode, for instance, where everyone including Mr. Furley had an orgy.

Cast standout:  Matt Gaus as Keanu!  Great impression!

Most terrifying: Andy Morton in a dress.

Final verdict:  still damn fun.  Three out of four Coors Banquet tallboys!

Here is a photo of the She-Ra and He-Man commercial break that we borrowed from our friend @boredintellect.


The Felt Show has been performing its adult puppet shows around town off and on for eight years now, but they have been pretty silent as of late. We assumed the puppets had died and we were a little sad.  While they were never as filthy as Mr. Doper and the gang from Shitty Deal Theater, the Felt Show puppets have the advantage of being very weird and looking super-cool.  So their return to the Bottleneck on Tuesday is a nice surprise.

Opening the show and also providing the backing music for some Felt Show tunes is KC's Electric Needle Room. We've been digging their adorable jangle-pop for awhile now. You should check out their recent album It's Getting Personal on Bandcamp and bounce around to funny songs like "Why Don't You Follow Me? (The Twitter Song)" and "Facebook Friend."  We've been saying for years:  This is the kind of band that would probably also be great as a backing band for a drunken adult puppet show.  So it's nice to see our dreams coming true. 

Check out the full history of Felt Show and its puppet-master Paul Santos via here and head to the Bottleneck on Tuesday.  Get there early: doors are at 8:00 and music begins at 8:30.  Did you catch a sneak preview on Mass. Street late on Friday night, as the puppets popped up to pimp their performance?  We did.

Great Twilight Zone-inspired poster!


Jeremy Auman said...

Thanks for the suggestions and the thoughtful review. Love your ideas, thanks for having the b*lls to watch, attend and write about theatre in LFK-

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