(Red and) Green River
Young performers of "Cleanest River in America" present a
holiday-themed sketch show with quality beyond their years.
Stickles, Jake Goldman and Dan Leif.
looking for an antidote to the saccharine holidays, you probably
couldn’t do much better than the holiday-themed show by sketch trio
“Cleanest River in America,” running at the People’s Improv Theater on
Saturdays, December 9, 16 and 23 at 7 p.m.
Their show is framed with opening and closing sketches in which group
members Jake Goldman, Dan Leif and Jessica Stickles play retail sales
clerks in a department store who bicker amid the onslaught of holiday
shoppers. The dialogue goes all over the place at points, but is still
amusing and sets the stage well for the rest of their material.
But for a group so young, Cleanest River is not amateurish. The group
wears its quality influences on its sleeve but stays original and
inventive at the same time. They sustain their ideas for extended
amounts of time without getting repetitive or stale.
You would think a sketch like one in which Dan Leif wears Jake Goldman
in a silver bodysuit on his back as a “man shirt” might come off as lame
but they put it over with just the right touch and tone. Even better, a
sketch built around Goldman’s unfortunate birthmarks of Herbert Hoover
and FDR who end up fighting it out, approaches classic status by
incorporating things you wouldn’t expect to be used as comedy fodder --
and it works because of the delivery.
Jessica Stickles does great sustained burns, as in a sketch when she
goes ballistic on Goldman in an elevator. Leif complements the others
nicely as the goofy or wacky persona, as he plays characters like a wolf
with hooks for hands.
Another classic bit in the show, that also avoids the trap of being
repetitive is one in which Stickles’ and Leif’s prescient sales clerks
seem to know more and more about Goldman as their customer.
All in all, Cleanest River’s material is fresh and original, and can
definitely cure your holiday blues.