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The Sum of Their Parts

For PIT shows featuring Girrbach and Levy, it’s more; for Milhiser, maybe a bit less.

Pictured: Girrbach, Levy and Milhiser.

Sketch comedian John Milhiser presented some gems in his solo show, “No Time To Kill,” seen at the People’s Improv Theatre on September 19, in a pairing with “Paired Up and Pumpin,” a sketch show by the duo Tim Girrbach and Alicia Levy (who hail from the larger sketch group Drop Six, see review, 8/19/06).

Milhiser’s best piece was as an adult film director teaching a class, showing how he dubbed his dialogue and other noises into his movies. Second to that was a very Kids In The Hall influenced British fop character, for which Milhiser donned a blonde wig and nattered on to his comatose partner, Nigel, having a lot of fun proclaiming every daft thought and statement that seemed to pop into his head.

Other material in Milhiser’s show, a mix of video and live sketches, had a lot of absurdity to it but didn’t always connect or resonate. In some of the pieces, it seemed like whatever the joke of the situation was supposed to be in the performer’s own mind, it didn’t quite get communicated or make clear sense. Still, Milhiser as a performer has a ton of energy that could be harnessed to more pointed effect with a writing collaborator who has some strong sketch ideas.

Following Milhiser, Girrbach and Levy performed a short preview version of their upcoming show that will play the PIT in late October and November. The duo have pairs of characters, some of which are very reminiscent of the dynamic of Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri in SNL’s “Cheerleaders” sketches. Their patriotic country singers, seen previously as part of Drop Six, are closest to this form.

But Girrbach and Levy do stretch the boundaries of duo character pieces, as in other bits, such as their German TV hosts, for which Levy plays up speaking as if she’s still a child but in a grown woman’s body. In another piece, less ethereal, the duo play high school teachers, with Girrbach shifting deftly to a Brooklyn accent, and enjoy gossiping about their students to live vicariously through them.

With “Paired Up and Pumpin,” Levy fits into another variation of sketch shows, going from a group to a couple different solo shows and now to a duo with Girrbach. She can both dominate a stage and collaborate well.

“Paired Up and Pumpin” returns to The PIT on Oct 30 for a run of four Friday night shows.




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