Those of you who read my review “Quickies at LeChat Noir” (http://icedjamb.com/art-in-augusta/quickies-at-le-chat-noir-review) will remember how much I enjoy the ambiance at the place. I decided to go for a lesser known, less promoted evening Thursday night called “Chicken Wire Theater”.
The basic differences in the evenings could be summed up by saying that for Chicken Wire, PBR was on sale, and being sold and drunk by the bucketful. This was decidedly going to be a different, if not more low-key, kind of evening. The tinkle of bottles and buckets was an gentle, wind-chimish undercurrent throughout the evening (as were the mostly suppressed burps). Well, the suppressed burps were more like, oh, the sound of the sea on the shore. Is that poetic enough?
The PBR mentality extended to the goofy but charming style of the MC, who was reading his notes, mostly pretty accurately, from a Mac laptop. The show was introduced as being in two acts separated by a three-comedian set, with two intermissions. As it was, things ran long, and the second act, which was really just a teaser of things to come in “The Continuing Adventures of Jet Spyman and Fanboy Skippy”, was hustled in after the comedians. No complaints, especially after a bucket of PBRs (BURAaaaap>tinkle tinkle).
I confess to being charmed by Jet Spyman and fanboy Skippy. The gist of the story reminded me VERY much, in a good and not plagiaristic way, of a series on Adult Swim called The “Venture Brothers” (http://www.adultswim.com/shows/the-venture-bros/). The same elements of a central group regulating the licensing, behavior and nemeses of Villains (in this case Heroes and Villains) was there, the same would-be villainy, the villain’s over-interfering helpmate, the dorkiness of the hero, and the fanboy nature (in this case literally) of the sidekick were all there. In Venture Brothers, the sidekick is replaced by a henchman fanboy-wannabe.
I can’t begin to give the names of the players for this piece as they were only announced and I CAN’T FIND THEM on the website (my fault), but I can tell you what a great job they did. The absurd dialog was crisp, and every comic moment was played to its greatest effect. The femme fatale, a man in high senorita drag, nearly stole the show with every appearance. The high level of farce was maintained throughout in the writing and played superbly. There were a few tussles with the scenery, with many quick changes between scenes, and I worried that the villain’s wife, who suffered from a shoulder injury in the play, would get one for real. She turned out to be OK in the end. The PBR was flowing and all was well.
For the second part of the show, we had comedians in order of experience but not necessarily of quality of material. I know that Names Sell Newspapers, and I hate to do these fine performers the disservice of not mentioning their names. But unfortunately there were no programs, and I write as slowly as I think, or even more so. I have to go with comedians one, two and three.
Comedian one was the least seasoned. His delivery was a bit hesitant at first, and he had trouble getting traction. Once he got up steam, the crowd, lubricious and loquacious with PBR, was on his side, egging him on. His material was quite funny. And this was definitely a crowd that wanted to be part of the show.
The second comedian was from Aiken, and naturally a bit laid back. But his self confidence was surer, and his material was quite good. It became evident that nobody was going to die on stage that night, regardless of the feisty audience.
I must say that I fear being in the crowd at comedy shows. Having seen audience members painfully and skillfully flame-broiled by the likes of Sam Kinison up in New York, I was not looking forward to what these pros could do. I felt very much let off the hook last night.
The third comedian came on with a huge amount of swagger, and owned the stage from the moment he hit it. His delivery was at about twice the volume of the other two combined. He was a comedic juggernaut who came blasting on as though fueled by a little of the old Peruvian Marching Powder, and he took no prisoners. He was more at home with his material and he pitched it faster that the other two. I can’t say his material was better because his delivery was so polished, but the audience loved it, especially his saber-toothed tiger bit. I’ll say no more about that – I hate to be a spoiler,
The second act of “The Continuing Adventures of Jet Spyman and Fanboy Skippy” was up next, although my PBR-swollen bladder was indeed ready for another intermission. These scenes were teasers for the next Episode, though, and flew by. “What Happen Next!?” as Long Wang would say. I don’t know, but as I do with the Ventures, I plan to stay tuned for another episode.