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The Week That Was

People's Improv Theater presents cutting musical take on current events.

By Cristina Merrill / Jester correspondent

Nothing is sacred in “Political Subversities,” a musical sketch show that draws its material from the news, seen recently at the People’s Improv Theater. From the BP oil spill to nuclear bombs to racial tension, “Political Subversities” is ready to make fun of anything, so long as it can be put into a song and dance routine. 

The show assumes its audience will be ready to get down, dirty and controversial. At the same time, the pieces in “Political Subversities” are polished and include songs delivered brilliantly by a cast of five men and five women who all have something to offer.

Take Shaina Taub and Kim Blanck, for example, playing a doctor and a woman seeking an abortion, respectively. With the rest of the cast crouched in fetal positions in the background, Taub launches into a dramatic song in which she urges Blanck to “think of the fetus.” Taub displays a superb vocal range and gives such a sincere performance that does, in fact, make one want to think of the fetus. Blanck, who can also sing and has impeccable comedic timing throughout the show, has only one thing to say at the end of the skit.

“It kind of looks like an M&M,” she said.

Another talent is Matthew Robert Gehring, a guy with Robert Pattinson-like good looks who uses his lanky form to comedic advantage. He shines in a skit about being a “good Republican”  (emphasis on “can”), in which he uses dramatic gestures to do things such as break up a gay marriage ceremony and tear up legislation that President Obama (frequently played throughout the show by Jabari Brisport) is about to propose.

There is also Emma Tattenbaum-Fine, a tiny blonde woman who plays up her youthful look and voice, and Nichi Douglas, another petite woman who is aggressively funny, especially in a skit that mocks Uganda’s anti-gay stance and another skit in which she raps about her fitness routine.   

The variety of attributes among the cast members make the show even better when most or all of them are onstage together. In a song and dance piece that steps out over that edge, the five guys urge women everywhere to shave their “hoo-has.”

“The only way we can orgasm is by thinking you’re 11 years old,” they sing.

The group dynamic is especially good in an MTA skit, in which the entire cast plays frustrated MTA workers who make fun of whining New York commuters. There is also a piece in which the women sing about wanting to be political wives who can do things such as touch themselves in the Oval Office and appear on Oprah.

“If I lose my husband, I lose my life,” they sing.

The final song features the entire cast singing about being “the savior of New York,” vowing to spot “shady white vans” and foil terrorist plans in the hopes of getting a moment of fame.   

“I’m gonna find a suspicious package and be the savior of New York,” they sang, holding the note on the “o” in “York” and prompting loud applause from a delighted, satisfied audience.

There are times when “Political Subversities” could fare better, such as a slow skit about a woman who is diagnosed with diabetes, something that freaks her out simply because she hears the word “die.” A skit that mocks Lindsay Lohan could be eliminated altogether (an easy target whose troubles are not even all that newsworthy anymore). But overall, “Political Subversities” is great fun and will reassure even the most experienced comedy fan that fresh, capable talent continues to surface in New York.

“Political Subversities” runs at The PIT 9:30 p.m. Saturdays continuing into July and August, and promises to update its material regularly to keep up with the news.

 

   

     

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