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Sharp Dressed Men

PIT improv group debuts with wholesome scene constructions, plus some twists

By Cristina Merrill / Jester correspondent

People’s Improv Theater group Gentlemen Party shed their suit jackets but remained dapper in trousers, dress shirts and ties as they performed improv comedy at the theater Dec. 11 in a show that refrained from gross-outs and drew on Americana for its topics.

The audience’s suggestion word, “cow,” fed the group’s middle America topics, as members Billy Domineau and Mike Spence launched into a piece where they played professional baseball agents. Domineau begs Spence to let him sign his donkey. But Spence refuses. “This donkey and his 88 per mile curveball is all I’ve got,” he said. 

In one of the best skits of the night, Spence takes castmate Nick Packard out on a cow tipping date. Spence threatens to punch the cow. Packard does not want Spence to punch the cow, but admits he would be kind of excited if he did. In a further effort to flaunt his masculinity, Spence shoots the cow, much to Packard’s horror. Enter Gentlemen Party’s fourth performer, Andrew Farmer, sporting a country accent and wailing over the loss of the family cow. “She’s our only source of food and money,” Farmer yelled, while Packard is crying. “She was pregnant with a calf,” Farmer continued, adding to the tragedy.

Asking the audience for a number, and getting the number 115, the Party men looked to the 115th page of a Sky Mall magazine, which featured sleep masks. The performers took a metaphorical approach to masks, with Spence and Farmer launching into a short skit in which they rendezvous at the Chili’s To Go section after meeting online. “I have to be honest with you,” Farmer told Spence. “It’s in my profile.” After they have sufficiently creeped each other out, one of them is offered steak fries as a reward for “taking a chance.”

With Farmer as their professor, Mr. Clancy, the Party men performed a skit in which Farmer “disappears” into cyberspace. “You just ran out of the classroom,” Packard said. The students Farmer left behind implore him to teach them about the reproductive system. Domineau, apparently, needs no instruction in that area. “I don’t know why you get so many girls,” Spence said to Domineau. “You don’t say anything. Ever.” Domineau smartly responded with silence and a pointed stare.

Gentlemen Party gives audiences a reason to cheer. The performers own their name. Like true gentlemen, they give each other the time and space to be funny, and they manage to be funny without resorting to the grotesque, aside from the dark action of the killing of the cow. Their silly humor and charm made for a pleasing and interesting show.

 

   

     

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