Continuing in our recent spirit of “spending time away from the children in order to more fully enjoy our children” (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), Willem and I went out on a full-on, grown-up, just-like-in-the-movies date night yesterday. Up until Wednesday, we hadn’t made firm plans; I had arranged for babysitting but wasn’t sure what we would do once we escaped from the house. Dinner and an hour at the bookstore, I thought: why mess with success?
But then Gretchen happened to mention that she had tickets to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company on Friday night, and I was immediately interested. I didn’t even ask what the show was, I just knew that I had enjoyed the DVD of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and was willing to drag Willem along to whatever else they had to offer. And when it turns out that their latest offering is about sports, well, that means it wasn’t even a challenge to convince him.
Was it funny? Damn right. Was it smart? Of course. Was it … oh, whatever, the rhetorical questions aren’t helping. We had a blast.
In one of those coincidences of scheduling that was so perfect it would have been hard to pull off intentionally, there was a Grateful Dead tribute band, complete with, um, authentic aromatic details, on another stage in the same building. The RSC made fine and appropriate use of this information, especially after half of the audience returned from the intermission with a bit of a contact high.
I enjoyed the second half a little more than the first, which could be for any number of reasons aside from those of a secondhand variety. Maybe it just takes me a while to catch up to their speed of performance; coming from a typical daily routine involving diapers and homework, I had to rouse some long-dormant neurons to handle their joke-a-minute (or, to be more precise, five-or-six-jokes-a-minute) pacing. Maybe they touched on sports I just found funnier. Maybe we accidentally snuck down and sat in the eighth-row-center seats next to Gretchen and Dan after intermission. The world may never know.
This is not to imply that the first half was lacking. My abs just had more of a laughing-too-hard ache at the end of the show than at intermission.
I can’t accurately reproduce any of their material, because my memory is just not good enough to recreate any of it and maintain the funny. I’m hoping they decide to release this performance on DVD, because I always appreciate it when I can safely buy the same gift for half a dozen people and know they would all enjoy it.
I did pick up a DVD of a prior performance, their Complete History of America (abridged) (why, yes, I do sense a theme… see above re: why mess with success?). The actors were waiting in the lobby, ready and willing to provide autographs and small talk. One of the particularly magical things about these guys is that they seemed genuinely surprised that we were familiar with them, had already seen another DVD, hadn’t just wandered into the wrong side of the theater. Maybe they’ll continue to expand their popularity and we’ll eventually watch an E! True Hollywood Story chronicling their downfall, but at this point, they’re just a fun, funny group of apparently genuine and humble people.
So, yeah… an uninspired review, perhaps, but trust me when I say that an evening with these guys is more than worth the cost of a ticket or two. Go check their schedule, buy tickets, and tell them Kate sent you. They’ll have absolutely no idea who you’re talking about.