Tuesday, September 26, 2023

"The (Almost) Complete and (Mostly) Accurate History of Alcohol" at Bryant Lake Bowl

Favorite local funny man Josh Carson and friends have put together a sketch comedy show about that great elixir and social lubricant - alcohol. Ironically, I saw the show about four weeks into a six-week break from alcohol (and caffeine), which I started as part of my marathon training. And even though an injury got me off of the marathon track, I stuck with the alcohol break just to see if I could do it (and I am still in training, if only for the much less physically demanding half marathon). It's an interesting experiment and has made me more aware of how prevalent alcohol is in our society and our social lives. It hasn't really been that hard for me, but there have certainly been days where I wanted a drink to smooth out the edges of a rough day, or just to taste a delicious concoction on a night out. This group of very funny writers and performers have taken all of these ideas, as well as stories of alcohol throughout history, and created about a dozen silly, funny, relatable sketches. You can see it at Bryant Lake Bowl (with dinner and yes, drink service before and during the show) through September 30 only (click here for info and tickets).

The show begins and ends with a clever song parody. The opener, sung by Josh with the rest of the ensemble singing backup, is a parody of "Comedy Tonight" from Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, as "Alcohol Tonight." The closer, sung by Leslie Vincent (who, no offense to Josh, is an actual singer with two jazz albums to her name), is "Oh, What a Night" from Jersey Boys, again with alcohol related lyrics. In between we get comedy sketches, interspersed with some fun facts from history related by Josh. This isn't Reverend Matt level of deep-dive information (which you can see the first Thursday of every month at BLB), but more like interesting tidbits used to set up sketches.

Everyone in the talented cast (also including Kelsey Laurel Cramer, Thalia Bea Kostman, Thomas Matthes, Neal Skoy, and Allison Vincent) brings their own unique skills to the show. For example, Thalia is obviously a trained dancer; she did a very funny and unique dance/movement piece about how gin makes women wild (another historical tidbit). Other sketches are about ancient Greece, shots as medicine (with Leslie singing a list song of shot names, most of which this nerd has never heard of), a super annoying Bloody Mary brunch Instagrammer (perfectly played by Kelsey), the ridiculousness of beer (and coffee) commercials (with short shorts worn by Neal and Josh to great comedic effect), a bachelorette party in Salem around the time of the witch trials, the birth of TGI Fridays in the '80s, and of course - Prohibition.

This was my 6th show in 8 nights in this busy start to the new #TCTheater season, and it was nice to end on a light and fun (and early - 90 minute show with a 7pm start time) note. Josh Carson and friends are always a sure thing for laughter, silliness, and pop culture references, and this show delivers.