SHOW: Movie Scrapple
GENRE: Mixed media theater
GROUP: Philly Improv Theater
ATTENDED: Fri., Sept. 6, 2013, 11:59 p.m., Mainstage at the Adrienne
CLOSES: Sat., Sept. 21
BRIEF SELF-DESCRIPTION: "Your favorite Philly comedians endured hours of the worst films ever made, then created the commentary track you wish came with the DVD: one filled with humor."
WE THINK: Not very funny, and for a reason that should have been obvious beforehand: The overemphasis of a joke is the demise of its humor. Apparently Joe Coughlin of Philly Improv thought Plan 9 From Outer Space wasn’t funny enough on its own, and decided (with others) to write a bunch of live satirical/ pop-culture referencing commentary to accompany the film live. He was wrong. Every time they stay quiet and allow the film to stand on its own ineptitude, it’s way funnier than the five comedians seated stage left in front of microphones, the best of which is Cara Schmidt, who summons all her powers of perfectly timed and tonally sharp delivery to occasionally break through the dullness.
And the show is not only flawed in theory, in practice it assumes what is assumed on DVD commentary, that you have already watched the film that the director and actors are talking over. Because this isn’t true for many in the audience, the punch-lines don’t punch at anything much since one often can’t hear the piece of sham dialogue being ridiculed.
Over 90 tedious minutes (there were at least 5 walkouts in an audience of about 35-40) I started to thank the heavens for little blessings, like the chance to feel contemptuous of the dedicated group in the front two rows who were smart enough to bring booze and seemed determined to turn into a credulous laugh track long after most of the rest of the house had fallen into bored silence, or the fact that so much of Plan 9’s idiocy is non-verbal, leaving you free to ignore the commentary and wonder why anyone thought ham acting, narrative nonsense, and visual illogic required this work of supererogation.
You can be funnier on your couch; you have been funnier on your couch.
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