Starlite Players keep it short, sweet and silly.
Sketch comedy is not for wimps. It’s either funny or it isn’t. There are no musical numbers, detective stories, convoluted biographies, character studies or plot twists to fall back on. There are, of course, “Mind Games”—and that’s the point of The Starlite Players latest anthology. The four featured sketches explore different gambits that play with your mind. They’re short, sweet and funny — and they’re much better for your mind than watching TV.
The lunatics are literally running the asylum in George Freek’s “Reverse Psychology.” Young Michael (Ron Pearson) gets a tongue lashing from his fiancée, Sara (Samantha Centerbar), who thinks he’s not assertive enough.
“You’re a nice guy — and I don’t mean that as a compliment. You know what they say about nice guys.”
Following this the pep talk, he goes in for a job interview. Charles (Steve Bikfalvy) wants to know how far he’ll go to get the position. Would he kill for it? No. Would he sleep with Susan — Charles' wife? Well, maybe. Susan appears and the real craziness begins. It’s a well-acted, funny sketch, though I could see the ending coming a mile away. (Directed by Mark Woodland.)
Marvin Albert’s “Weekly Visit” is funny, if a tad predictable. A faithful son (Tyler Yurckonis ) visits his mother (Jenny Aldrich Walker) in an assisted-living facility every week. She reciprocates by taking him on a guilt trip. She’s old, confined, miserable and aching. Son leaves crestfallen. Once he’s out of sight, Mom flips your expectations. Which is exactly what you’d expect. (Directed by Bob Trisolini.)
Nicole Cunningham’s “The Company You Keep” explores the nasty things people say when their social masks start to slip. There are two pairs of mothers and daughters. Eve Caballero and Heather Forte’s motherly characters are at a PTA meeting. Their daughters (Cassandra Marie Caballero and Vanessa Russo) are at the homecoming queen coronation. We zip back and forth between alternating, backbiting conversations — the surface sweetness hiding a sour-candy center of personal attacks. The knives come out for real when mothers and daughters find out they’re in competition with each other. This smart, funny sketch is as sharp as a razor’s edge. (Directed by Bob Trisolini, who also plays the announcer.)
William H. Sikorski’s “Cabin Pressure” is the strongest sketch of all. The scene’s on an airplane. An older man (Daniel Greene) winds up sandwiched between two women, one middle-aged (Jenny Aldrich Walker) and one young (Samantha Centerbar). The plane is queued up at the runway, awaiting take-off. The women seize the opportunity to launch into dual cell phone conversations. The middle-aged woman on the aisle has a heart-to-heart with her daughter; the young woman on the window seat paints an erotic picture for her boyfriend. Their loud conversations surreally echo each other. The man in the middle does his best to ignore them — but he can’t. He says nothing, but squirms, rolls his eyes and comes close to popping out of his skin. Great physical comedy from Greene. His character gets accused of eavesdropping in the end. (Directed by Mark Woodland.)