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Come Sail Away

PIT sketch group Harvard Sailing Team shifts from physical to cerebral in new show

Having lost two of its members to the lure of Los Angeles, People’s Improv Theater sketch troupe Harvard Sailing Team has actually benefited to some extent from a less-crowded stage but is missing some of the energy that came from its numbers.

In the now seven-member group’s new show, “Ms. Larsen’s Class,” seen Jan. 23, the better sketches came in the first half of the show, namely one piece featuring Sara Taylor and Katie Larsen as host and guest on a public access “Cat Talk” show overshadowed by sounds of a violent struggle coming through the walls of their apartment. In another strong piece, Taylor stood out again, playing part of a couple, with Adam Lustick, who make ever more ridiculous demands of their hosts (Clayton Early and Jen Curran).

Group member Billy Scafuri didn’t fare quite so well in another piece with the premise of the rest of the group, playing a family, holding an intervention for him, as the father, to stop his incessant bad joke-telling.

Compared to a previous performance of the full nine-member group last year (seen but not reviewed), in this show Harvard Sailing Team appeared to be recalibrating their energy. The one piece recalled from the prior show, mined the group’s collective kinetic ability, greeting each other with air “humps’ and handclaps. The aforementioned pieces, both those that worked and those that didn’t work so well, were less reliant on physical movement and more focused on fueling humor through dialogue and premises.

Overall, if Harvard Sailing Team is indeed rebalancing itself, it could be well served by dropping some of the weaker bits seen in this show and bring back a little more of the physical comedy they execute so well.

Harvard Sailing Team continues its Saturday night run at The PIT Jan. 30 and Feb. 6 and 13.



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