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Talk Talk

Bob Wiltfong and Livia Scott present their own takes on talk shows at The PIT

Pictured: Bob Wiltfong and the young Livia Scott.

“Talk Show with Bob Wiltfong,” now a regular Thursday night show at the People’s Improv Theater, benefits a lot from its host’s willingness to rein himself in and collaborate with a producer and technical staff, just as though this show was a high-budget televised talk show like the Tonight Show or Conan O’Brien.

Wiltfong and his collaborators get the feel of these shows intimately, in the conversation style of interviews with guests, and the show-business style of showcasing acts, like those seen April 19, burlesque troupe Peach Tartes and musician Rob Morrison.

A great example of how the show adds a touch way beyond its budget is how the tech booth operator projected images from Morrison’s MySpace page behind him as he played, adding another theatrical dimension to the show, and better showcasing him as a performer.

In just about 30 minutes, Wiltfong deftly shifted between these very different segments, which also included an interview with an official from Ride For Life, an annual event that raises awareness and funds to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease. And in very different segments, Peach Tartes prove highly entertaining, everything a retro burlesque group should be -- sexy, arousing and funny all at the same time -- with a parody of a relay race set to “Chariots of Fire.”

At this show, “Talk Show” was paired with Livia Scott’s “Castle of Enchantment,” a hit-and-miss affair that nonetheless was fantastic when it did hit -- as host of a looser talk show format, Scott did a classic Helen Keller telling her own jokes -- about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster of course. Guest Eric Andres did a blind bluesman character who spouted various anachronisms and non-sequiturs that operated on a planet of its own as a bit -- very funny to this reviewer, but the audience didn’t seem to like it very much. Stand-up Patrick Borrelli had funny material, but wasn’t aggressive enough with it. Comedian Jon Friedman’s short films were a highlight though, short and to the point with their jokes. All in all, Scott’s Helen Keller, interspersed through most of the show, was its best piece.

Both shows return at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26, with Scott playing a new “dead celebrity host” with each performance of “Castle of Enchantment.”




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