By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 8, 2008 9:58PM
Saturday night at SketchFest was bigger, better, rowdier, drunker. Performers might have found audiences more forgiving (when friends and family came) and tougher (when the front row was soused). Groups filling the most coveted slots brought energy, harmony, and a bizarre hilarity to the stage.
Cool Table’s energetic, spot-on deconstruction of dude culture made for a very satisfying 40 minutes. It’s solid material, although their scenes of a nutty police interrogation and a son coming out to his father felt a bit derivative. It was satisfying to see the players commit to each bit and resist the temptation to marginalize their sole female member, though.
The Cool Table performs at the Chicago Center of Performing Arts, 777 North Green St., Thursdays at 10:15 p.m.
The charming Ohio quartet’s dueling opening number, a wholesome greeting versus a misogynistic call to arms, set the tone for their “musical explosion,” a full set of tunes paying tribute to and skewing doo-wop, classic rock, '80s pop, and numerous other genres. It's a two-for-one deal, ending with a rousing rendition of this Internet favorite:
Last Call Cleveland’s video shorts are on YouTube.
Two trios hitching their short skits to larger stories -- a criminal investigation (Heavyweight) and time travel (Approximately 3 Peters). Heavyweight’s set was more assured and more bizarre … from a “tour tour” of a “factory factory” to Riverdance performed from the waist up. Even when we’re let in on the joke, nothing feels predictable. The strongest Peter (heh heh…) is actually named Ian, and his facial quirks alone could’ve carried the set. His turn as Paul McCartney, desperate to become the last surviving Beatle, was the hour's highlight.