Fringe review: Ménage à Prov

Just about every Fringe features an improv show by moonlighting SAKtors. This year’s Ménage à Prov gives us three of them -- or actually five, since two understudies have been retained to fill in for members of the main trio at certain performances.

SAK patrons have long since come to know Darren Vierday as a smart scenarist with the ability to prevent a bit from going over the rails (or at least to wryly remark on its tragic passing as it does so). As for Francisco Laboy, Orlando has watched him grow from an endearingly awkward kid with a knack for impersonating the lower creatures to an endearingly awkward young adult who can get laughs by suddenly making his body go as limp as

well, as anyone you’ve ever dated. And then there’s wise, wizened Charles Frierman, whose praises I apparently must sing once per Fringe lest I cease to exist.

At last night’s performance, Frierman was understudied by one Tony Recktenwald. I’m not as familiar with his work, and he seemed less adept than the others at driving a scene -- although he did perform an impressively violent buttplant of a pratfall that indicates physical comedy may be his métier.

Still, even on a slow Monday night when the chemistry isn’t quite there and inspiration isn’t striking as often as everybody might like, there’s always the chance that a happy accident will cascade into joyous chaos. Say, for example, that the audience is asked to name a dialect and somebody responds, “Swahili.” Imagine that the cast is too polite to point out (or just doesn’t realize) that Swahili is a language, not a dialect. Envision that they further muddy the waters by performing a bit based on the idea that Swahili is an actual country. (You know, like the People’s Republic of Swahili.) And suppose -- just suppose, mind you -- that the improviser tasked with representing the country (continent?) of Swahili clearly has no idea what the hell one of its citizens might sound like, and so spends the next five minutes doing what appears to be an impression of Bill Cosby choking on a tennis ball. I love it when a plan falls apart.


Ménage à Prov

Slothco Productions - Orlando, FL


Show Schedule:

Thursday 17 May; at 11:00pm in the Patrons' Room

Saturday 19 May; at 4:45pm in the Patrons' Room

Sunday 20 May; at 10:30pm in the Patrons' Room

Monday 21 May; at 8:45pm in the Patrons' Room

Wednesday 23 May; at 6:45pm in the Patrons' Room

Friday 25 May; at 9:00pm in the Patrons' Room

Sunday 27 May; at 7:15pm in the Patrons' Room


Price: $9 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)

Discount(s): Volunteers, Artists

Rating: G-14