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‘Dysfunctional Holiday Revue’
I suspect that most of us approach the holiday season very much like the character Tim Robinson plays in the opening number of Second City’s latest satire, “Dysfunctional Holiday Revue” – except for the part about the uncle inappropriately touching him. “What a terrible, fabulous day,” Robinson warbles – and he’s correct. The holidays often DO bring out the best and worst of us, but thankfully that’s not the case with SC’s twenty-eighth revue – the first under the auspices of Producing Artistic Director Nate DuFort. Instead, what we’re treated to is a very funny 75-minute program that bodes well for the company under DuFort’s leadership.
For starters, the “Dysfunctional Holiday Revue” is an adult comedy written and performed by grownups for grownups. Much of the frat boy humor that permeated some earlier revues is gone – as are the childish “let’s see how many times we can say the word ‘f*ck’ and get the audience to laugh” moments. (Thank-you, Nate!) Sure there are naughty words and phrases sprinkled throughout – it wouldn’t be a Second City comedy without them – but they serve the scenarios well.
The result, then, is a slate of well thought-out skits with concrete beginnings, middles and ends that – for the most part – deliver the intended payoff. (A few, however, are a little too long. Others are only peripherally holiday-specific, but what the hell: They’re still funny.)
That’s especially true of one of the show’s best segments, which finds Megan Wilkins pretending to be her son while chatting with his friends online. After all, how else is a mother supposed to find out what’s happening in the life of her non-communicative teenager? (shift, colon, right parenthesis)
Another non-holiday highlight is a continuing vignette about an older couple – Wilkins and Brett Guennel – sitting on a park bench feeding the pigeons. But that’s not all they feed, which leads to the only audience interaction of the evening. (The two were a hoot on opening night!)
Everyone who subscribes to a cable TV or internet provider will identify with Guennel’s frustrating attempt to get someone to come out and install his Triple Play Package. But who he finally talks with will surprise you.
And anyone who’s ever gone home for the holidays with a new significant other will appreciate Robinson’s predicament when the family traditions he encounters are a bit baffling. (Quintin Hicks wielding The Broom of Justice in his sparkly green boxers and jester’s hat is a moment you won’t soon forget.)
But is it my imagination, or is this the gayest SC Detroit main stage production ever – and not in the “don we now our gay apparel” sense? In one scene, Tara Nida and Wilkins play two straight women bemoaning the men in their lives who decide to take their friendship to a more intimate level – and haven’t a clue how the mechanics work. And Robinson and Guennel seem to have a little too much fun with their body-to-body, butt-to-face contact in a skit about a mall security workshop.
The Second City, 42705 Grand River Ave., Novi. Every Wed.-Sun., through Dec. 31. Tickets: $15-$20. For information: 248-348-4448 or http://www.secondcity.com