Volume 94, Issue 35

Wednesday, November 1, 2000


Another stupid flick for Travolta

Production a Laugh riot

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Jump around for Everlast

Production a Laugh riot

Starring: Ensemble Cast
Directed By: Lisa Cherns and Eliana Busheikin

By Rebecca Morier
Gazette Staff

It's a known fact: Everyone loves to laugh.

But getting other people to chortle is no easy task. For the cast and crew of Laugh, the brave goal of provoking anything from chuckles to belly laughter from the audience is staged front and centre.

Presented by Western's Arts Students' Council, Laugh is a series of not-so politically correct sketches. Before the play even starts, the audience is delivered an apology for its sensitive content.

Tagging itself as "offensive," the apology slaps a big parental advisory label on the production, establishing certain expectations for the audience. The apology also provides a pseudo-commendable explanation for the play's outright use of social stereotypes, which is to play up these negative images of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation in the attempt to expose their absurdity.

However, the apology seems more like an excuse for drawing laughs from hackneyed sources.

A funny and intelligent moment, though, occurs in the "Children's Literature" piece, played out by Geoffrey Brough and Meghan Quinlan.

It's a sharp satirical commentary on children's stories and the sexual innuendoes that run amok within them.

In the three "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" vignettes, standard notions of God are turned on their heads when the Divine Creator turns out to be a promiscuous, Italian-Chinese man (Dominic Chan). While God may be a character too abstract or distant for some to find humourous, the opening skit pokes fun at a campus political figure, since God knows politicians are easy targets.

With an ensemble cast of 11 members, each brings a different element to the play. This is best noted in the ongoing "Expect the Best" dating service ads that act as mini-skits scattered intermittently throughout the play, reminiscent of Saturday Night Live. In fact, Laugh flows much like an SNL episode (albeit, a better one) with hints of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Like any remotely successful venture in comedy – whether it's stand-up, television, or live theatre – Laugh sustains its running time.

This is due, in part, to writers Lee Zanello and Bobby Del Rio, as well as the performers, who translate the script into outlandish, droll or biting sequences. Memorable are Luke Maynard's homely, straight-laced Brit, Danny Zilnik's "I'm not gay!" custodian, Amanda Bruce's ditzy pageant hostess and the range of accents and personas that Hunter Somerville takes on.

However, Geoffrey Brough really lights up the stage as he exudes Jim Carrey-esque vivacity. The jocularity of his jock rendition is hilarious, while his portrayal of a rugged French-Canadian fur trader is one that evokes under-your-breath laughter at the least, even if you know you "shouldn't" be laughing.

At times, the content in Laugh pushes buttons for which the opening apology/disclaimer tries to make excuses. But as the audience is reminded before the curtain rises, you can either make fun of everybody or make fun of nobody – one can only commend the cast and crew of Laugh for making the former their goal.

Laugh runs Nov. 1-4 in Conron Hall (224 UC) at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are available at the door for $5. Following Laugh is an hour-long improv with Nosemilk.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000