PostFive’s “Spectravagasm 2”: Theater for Standup Fans

This hilarious, hyper-sexual new sketch show makes a strange pairing with Macbeth but a great aperitif for Bridgetown Comedy.

Cardboard robots are one of many vehicles "Spectravagasm 2" uses to riff on modernism, sex, and man-versus-machine.

Cardboard robots are one of many vehicles “Spectravagasm 2” uses to riff on modernism, sex, and man-versus-machine.

PostFive Theatre‘s “Spectravagasm 2″—a seeming hybrid of “spectacle,” “extravaganza,” and “orgasm”—is aptly named, but couldn’t be more strangely timed. The lighthearted sketch romp hit the stage directly following a bloody and tremulous rendition of MacBeth, with the actor who’d just played the titular tragic thane (Ty Boice) rising from the dead to relax in the front row for a good post-show laugh.

Luckily, the ensemble cast* delivered just that, trotting out absurd futuristic scenarios, sexual commentary, and even a number ripped from recently-workshopped musical “Oh F*ck, Oh Sh*t, It’s Love,” interspersed with a cough-syrup-fuelled dream sequence and a psychedelic slide show. Surprisingly easy to follow considering its outlandish premises, the show may have made even more sense if I’d caught the first installment. But like someone waking up from a NyQuil coma on a strange couch, let me just see what I can remember:

  • belligerent raindrops
  • robot prostitutes
  • pantomimed fellatio
  • a blue fairy
  • a man wearing a cone on his head for a month to quit smoking
  • a pair of roommates arguing over their new techie toy, the “human remote”
  • time travel
  • recitations of 90’s hit song lyrics as deep, heartfelt monologues.
  • in a surprise self-reflective twist, actors playing themselves, meeting up to rehearse (presumably) this very show
  • a rap sequence about “hiphop sex”
  • a Tom Cruise impersonator trying to curry special favor with his “Minority Report”-style laser glove
  • a battle between NPR and FOX News

Spectravagasm 2’s bag of tricks seemed virtually bottomless, but the cast’s momentum carried me effortlessly through. Still, the whole tableau seemed less a show than an audition—a whetstone for writers and performers seeking opportunities closer in than 82nd, and perhaps even closer to TV and commercial content than theater. (Portlandia? SNL? Bueller?)

Much has been said about Portland’s burgeoning standup comedy scene, but it’s still relatively new to see original theatrical comedy that nips at standup’s nimble heels. Between Action/Adventure’s recent offerings and the Spectravagasm series, there may be enough laughs in this ever-evolving theater scene to tide us over to Bridgetown Comedy in April.

*Adam Thompson, Becca Ridenour, Steve Vanderzee, Jessica Anselmo, Juliana Wheeler, Sam Dinkowitz, Keith Cable, Gilberto Feliciano, Sam DeRoest, and Shane Skinner

 

 

 

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