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Return of the Maude

UCB’s sketch comedy teams night continues to develop

Last reviewed here in March, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre’s Maude Night to highlight sketch comedy groups and give them more stage time is really paying off. Seen again May 19, the group Stone Cold Fox has gotten better, with only one real dud sketch this time and several pieces that out and out rocked. And the second half of this bill, the group 27 Kidneys, not previously seen, may not have had the peaks and valleys of Stone Cold Fox, but did more with tying sketches together and having recurring characters.

Although Stone Cold Fox’s opening piece, “New England Tiger Talk,” stretched a weak idea for too long, the group scored several hits, first with D’Arcy Erokan, Cody Melton, Fran Gillespie and Joe Spellman as couples playing the game of “what’s your porno name?”; and even better, a Batman and Robin sketch patterned after the 1960s TV show version except with derogatory Italian ethnic slurs sparked by the Pow! Biff! Bam! splashes for the fight scenes; and Spellman’s masterful high energy dictatorial boss of Snapple bottle cap fact writers.

Also, Nate Lang had a good showcase as “Johnny Rebel,“ a parody of James Dean’s overwrought persona, ably assisted by Sean Clements as one of several foils in the group. All in all, Stone Cold Fox has raised their game considerably in the past two months.

27 Kidneys framed their whole set with a recurring dark take on “The Cops Who Shot Sean Bell” taking on other tasks and overdoing those as well. The group opened its set with a longer piece called “Hospital Boat,” that also stretched a little long in its conceit of mixing a hospital soap opera like plot with adventure on the high seas.

The group’s best piece, a send-up of BBC productions of Jane Austen’s work, was anchored by Jill Donnelly’s impression of Gillian Anderson and cleverly written unexpected obscene double entendres delivered by Nate Shelkey, Andrée Vermeulen and others. Jim Santangeli and Chris Kelly’s work in a send-up of bad sitcoms, “Kooky Roomies,” also stood out.

Judging by what was on stage at this latest one (complementing its regular Tuesday Harold Nights), it’s in the ranks of the top sketch comedy offerings in New York.

UCB's Maude Night returns June 9 with Mixtape '98, 27 Kidneys, The Skuntz and Stone Cold Fox. 



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