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Unfinished Symphony

Sketch group Chocolate Cake City uses characters as the icing on their ...

Like the Sopranos finale that inspires the bookends of their current show, Chocolate Cake City (seen June 22 at Rose’s Turn) has many pieces that are half-finished or unfinished, which, like that landmark TV series, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for this sketch comedy group, it means they don’t have as many highlights as they could.

In fact, the group’s “cold-open” style sketch, featuring Adam Hamway as God trapped in an elevator, is one highlight that gets your attention before you’re even settled in to the show. Seeing God as hapless and irritated is a novel idea that makes this a smart and great piece.

A close second is a sketch featuring group founder Rob Asaro and Adi Blotman as dueling anchors trading snappy snippy dialogue when they find out they’re vying for one job.

Asaro proves adept at stretching into different characters in another highlight of the show, where he plays a young boy whose overactive imagination conjures a monster hiding in his closet, to the frustration of his mom (also played by Blotman).

Hamway does best with characters when doing something different than just playing the “evil guy,” as with a Jerry Lewis-like hot dog vendor at Yankee Stadium who disrupts a wedding proposal in the stands. There’s an added layer on this sketch that they’re filming the proposal as a scene for a movie, but that could even be extraneous.

All of the group members are adept at fast paced dialogue, as seen in another sketch set in a shoe store, where the salespeople seem to have different meanings for most words than a customer does -- especially when Blotman, as the beleaguered customer, asks Zach Dresler to repeat the same word after her and she gets a list of other words.

Some of the connective sketches or those attempting to play with the concept of doing a show itself, however, get a little bit strained, such as one featuring Tom Falcone, bemoaning his so-called fate to never get to play the wacky character in a sketch.

Chocolate Cake City have some strong characters and show they’re capable of creating more of them. They would do well to keep their focus on that and phase out some of the less assured show-within-a-show type material.

Chocolate Cake City perform again 7 p.m. Sunday, June 24 at the National Comedy Theatre and 7 p.m. July 5 at Mo Pitkin’s.




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