The Twisted Hipster is in his last few weeks of employment at Better-Lemons – yes, out with the old year, not coming back with the new.
But, while I still have this platform, I want to let you know about two wonderful shows with just a few performances left.
One is a new show, the other is a holiday staple. One is family-friendly for older kids, the other should probably not be viewed by anyone under 30.
THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD by David Farr, Directed by Gisli Orn Gardarsson and Selma Bjornsdottir
Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood, the valiant thief who robs from the rich to give to the poor. This ambitious show is an attempt to craft a new origin story for our time, showing how a common thief named Robin Hood grew into his myth. The production casts Luke Forbes, a dashing actor of color as Robin, which already causes the audience to re-examine our preconceptions. Further, Marion is now a noblewoman who hates being royalty, seeing her privileged life as a prison sentence that she longs to break out from. In addition to Robin’s Band of Merry Men and Marion’s privileged family connections, there are also two children in peril – brother and sister, 12 and 8 years old – and an onstage band fronted by silken-voiced Salka Sol, who sings several songs in the course of the show. There is also a slanted hillside set, that members of the cast are constantly sliding down with evident glee.
It all adds up to a very entertaining show that’s a great deal of fun. Because of its length (over 2 hours) and some feigned violence, I wouldn’t recommend it for kids younger than 10. But the cast is wonderful, especially Christina Bennett Lind as Marion, who infuses everything she does with emotional commitment and purpose. While this is not a holiday show as such, there are so many different kinds of talent on display that it does feel like a festive occasion, almost a theatrical circus. And visually, this show is a feast for the eyes.
While this was my first time experiencing Bob’s Holiday Office Party, this is the 22nd year for the show, and many members of the audience I saw it with had evidently seen it several times before. Each time one of the actors entered, he or she would be greeted with the kind of applause that beloved TV show characters often receive. It was like seeing The Bob Newhart Show performed by great sketch comedy actors – The early SNL cast or SCTV troupe. The show is lewd, crude and drop-dead hilarious. They have apparently adapted some of their routines to the Trump era, with the Johnson sisters – LaDonna and LaVoris – being ardent Trumpers, who often chirp about “Fake News” or “Lock her up” or other slogans of our times. But the brand of comedy is really apolotical in nature, which aims to be as offensive and politically incorrect as possible. I’d describe it as sentimental anarchy, and I’d recommend it as a great cure for the blues.
While there’s a plot and some twists and turns, this is really character-based comedy executed by maniacal sketch comedians. While everyone seems at the top of their game, I was particularly blown away by Mark Fite as as the town’s DUI champion and Sirena Irwin as a hooker with a heart of silly putty whose eagerness for sex knows no bounds.
If you like your comedy brilliantly vulgar and boundlessly funny, then this is the show for you. And this is the last weekend to see it.