Tabloid send-up exceeds expectations in double bill with
“Seven Fights,” a loose
set of sketches.
Christina Casa as Angelina Jolie and Sara Chase as Jennifer Aniston in
"Jen & Angie."
Of two shows now paired
together at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, “Jen & Angie” and
“Seven Fights,” the former is better written and appears to have more
effort and thought put into its construction.
“Jen & Angie” sends up the tabloid ride of a few years back when
Angelina Jolie stole away Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston, with Sara
Chase as Aniston and Christina Casa as Jolie doing recognizable versions
of these stars that parody their personalities without going completely
broad and cartoonish.
Chase and Casa, working with a script for their half-hour show written
by Casa and Laura Buchholz that places the duo stranded on an island
after a plane crash that leaves Pitt a vegetable, would slip in little
tidbits and touches familiar from their public personas, like Jolie’s
husky Brit-inflected voice and Aniston’s flip mannerisms, along with
some inventions of their own, like Jolie constantly referring to Aniston
by her full name, and Aniston lamenting her subsequent breakup with
Vince Vaughn and pining for Courtney Cox’s friendship.
The plot of “Jen & Angie” gets a little cutesy (where these two rivals
end up becoming friends -- as in “Friends,” get it?) as it wraps itself
up toward a conclusion, but its creators fill it with enough ballast
from poking fun at these two personalities to keep the show buoyant most
of the way through.
“Seven Fights” features a male duo, Matt DeCoster and Will Hines, as
contrast to the women of “Jen & Angie,” in the performances seen
December 22. This show is a different animal, in that DeCoster and
Hines, play different duos of characters in little five-minutes put
together as one complete show -- all in some sort of arguments or
conflicts, hence the title.
DeCoster and Hines show some range to their comedic palette, in that
they can go from political satire, albeit a broad one, of candidates in
a debate where one (Hines) is trying to talk his way around the fact
that he’s got a harpoon sticking out of his chest. DeCoster uses a few
different variations on New York regional accents, most notably in a
sketch where, playing “Benny The Arm,” he takes on a bowling alley owner
who challenges him with a thousand-pin lane.
The problem with “Seven Fights,” however, is that most of the segments
don’t go beyond the initial premise very much, and don’t raise those to
any higher levels. One segment where DeCoster is something like a mad
scientist relies a bit too much on mugging. There are one or two
highlights, however -- where DeCoster inhabits the personality of a
pushy neighbor, and the duo present another, but more outlandish
political satire with a debate sketch, this time set in the 1830s and
concerning manifest destiny.
DeCoster and Hines are gifted performers and good improvisers, having
worked together on the UCB improv group Monkeydick, but many of the
parts of “Seven Fights” come off like scenes that if they were devised
in an improvisation, would be quickly ended to move to another idea.
“Jen & Angie” returns December 27 with “Seven Fights,” and then on
January 3 and 24 with the Lance & Ray Show (previously reviewed
here July 6, 2007).