One all-male, one all-female group stand out in
Penny: Tricia Mcalpin, Amber Petty and Jessica Schupack; and Sidecar:
Matt Fisher, Alden Ford and Justin Tyler.
As part of the UCB’s Winter Showcase of several of its
sketch shows and groups at the theater January 16, a trio of women and a
trio of men emerged as the best new talents. The women of the group
Penny, Tricia McAlpin, Jessica Schupack and Amber Petty, master the
reveal in one piece where Petty plays a disadvantaged child.
Playing little girls, Petty anchors the piece in which her friends try
to help her fulfill her birthday wishes, she laments not having “access”
to certain things she promised them like pony rides at her party, and
the like. The trio also can plunge into the surreal as in a sketch where
three seemingly unconnected character seem to be talking at
cross-purposes until their connection is revealed. In addition, another
Penny segment found the trio inhabiting hip-hop boys on the subway as
one of them hits on a woman on the train. With these three pieces, the
members of Penny showcased some strong writing and ideas.
Meanwhile, the men of Sidecar, Matt Fisher, Elden Ford and Justin Tyler
take simple or even innocuous things, like liver and kidney functions or
bad stand-up comedy and make them funny in their own idiosyncratic way
-- as when they play liver cells that talk and take a bad joke told in
the modern day and pose the idea that it was stolen from another
comedian from the 1980s -- who in turn stole it from a comedian in the
1920s … by retelling it with all the numerous cultural references
changed. Sidecar has an original style to its material and proves able
to do a lot with the simplest ideas.
The first act of the showcase, a solo character piece by Rob Latham as
“Dr. Lanny Latham,” started off promisingly but relied on the same
humorous self-help mantra of “Get Psyched!” way too much for such a
short segment. His recurring call-back of the need to help a destitute
foreign child did play well though. Ostensibly, Latham was parodying
“The Secret” and similar self-help phenomenon, but to take on that
subject, one has to do it with more edge than he showed here.
Sidecar is performing 11 p.m. Thursdays at the Magnet Theater.