There’s a lot of not-so-nice things you can say about Denisonians, but you can’t say we’re not a talented bunch. Between the countless student musicians recently spotlighted by the D-Day Student Festival to the brilliant crop of actors and actresses who have performed in the One Acts and this weekend’s Middletown (see page (number)), it’s clear that we’ve got some stars-to-be in our midst—and maybe, suggests the recent Sketch’rs Fall Showcase, some future writers for SNL.
The Sketch’rs Comedy Troupe, which had its first performance in the Fall of 2012, is a group of comically inclined performers dedicated to providing campus with a healthy dose of unwholesome, frequently dark sketch comedy. The show that the troupe gave its Herrick Hall audience this past Sunday served up this brand of humor in droves, weaving back and forth between various realms of the absurd.
A dozen sketches were performed in the hour that Sketch’rs owned the stage, each one varying in quality. Some, like Michael Somes’ “Espiathon: The Making of Insanity” came off as entertaining tangles of contrivances, with the action of the sketch being guided by sometimes illogical, sometimes merely sudden character introductions. Others, like Ian Shapiro’s “Screams Are Heard” were more like very precise scratches than sketches, humorous and to the point, but over too soon.
There were some standouts—“Thursday Afternoon,” a sketch by Emily Smith concerning a hostage-negotiation plot and “Fritz Williams,” a political-satire monologue sketch written and performed by Will Brackenbury were clear audience favorites—but many others lacked balance and polish
Though some of the newer writers’ material lacked the fullness of the veteran members’ work, the troupe’s performers were generally able to carry the pieces. Without sophomore Aaron Robertson’s full bodied performance as its mincing, over-exaggerated museum tour guide, Meghan Pearce’s “Day At The Museum” may not have landed as well with the audience as it did. Junior Emily Smith and sophomore Aleksa Kaups also performed admirably, in the realms of writing, acting and, as it turned out, singing.
Each Sketch’rs show has included some sort of musical sketch, and this year’s offering saw Smith, Robertson and Kaups performing an impressively arranged a capella medley of love songs, showing the arc of Smith and Robertson’s (fictional) relationship from steamy, club music beginnings to a sweet proposal of marriage to the tune of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.” Between all of the show’s psychopaths and murderers, this musical diversion was a nice addition to the evening.
Caroline Clutterbuck, a junior from Houstin, Texas, was a big fan of the musical sketch, as well as “Thursday Afternoon,” calling it “hilarious and concerning.” Sketch’rs’ ensemble of writer-performers has certainly grown since its first forays into sketch comedy.
However, the group, which is made up primarily of juniors and sophomores, clearly has some work ahead of it.