I admit, I am a member of what most comedians would call “a rough audience.” I don’t find the Simpsons, Jim Carey, George Carlin, Abbott & Costelo or Don Rickles funny. But give me Bill Cosby, David Brenner or the late Bob Hope – who irreverently poke fun at the mundane in our daily lives – and my dormant funny bone awakens, renewed, invigorated and ready for a workout! That’s the success of Estrofest. These Luscious Ladies of Laughter (my term, not theirs) take life, twist it, warp it and sculpt it into cleverly crafted sketches that parody, ridicule, then laugh along beside us as we examine accepted conventions together.
In this all-new review, the women entwine live and videotaped sketches, throwing in a little audience participation and a different male guest each show, just to add icing to the cake. Most of the pieces were written by the cast and as the show unfolds, its interesting to see the zesty humor of each writer as they poke fun at market research, crafters, massage therapy, super heroes, fairy tale princesses, nannies, birthday entertainers and more. On the back of the program, they disclaim that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual preference, religion or cultural background…they are equal opportunity offenders. Indeed. No topic is too sensitive to dissect and put under their comedic microscope.
It is wonderful to see how these six “sisters at heart” trust each other as they do the improv bungee jump, spontaneously crafting comedy from situations shouted by the audience and from unrelated phrases pulled from a hat. Throughout the show, their impeccable sense of timing, comedic delivery and sense of physical comedy (Allison Roberts’ performance in “The Bible” is physical comedy at its best) drive the show, even on the most ridiculous scenarios.
In one of my favorite pieces, “Still on the Lawnfront,” we see a new chapter of “The Lawn Ornament Chronicles.” In the same way that Toy Story took us into the lives of children’s playthings, we learn about the concerns of lawn ornaments as they struggle with being “PC” and the arrival of a new, competitive lawn figurine.
Finally, I have only word to say about the final sketch, “The McFeeley Sisters: That’s Entertainment”: BRILLIANT!!! This retrospective of the history of entertainment offers the Luscious Ladies of Laughter an opportunity to strut their stuff with music, dance and comedy that sparkles.
Did I love every piece? Of course not. But even if your funny bone is hard to tickle, I guarantee you’ll leave having given your laughter a good work out. I give this show 4.5 out of 5 guffaws.
Estrofest runs Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23 at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 27 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, January 29 at 2 and 7 p.m. at Nazareth College Performing Arts Center located at 4245 East Avenue, Rochester. Tickets are $20, $12 for student and are available at your local Wegmans Supermarket.
P.S. Although the name of this show might suggest it’s for women, the males in the audience had just as good a time as we women.