Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Room 17B

Tucked away in the tiny Theater C atop the 59E59 complex lies a silent weapon consisting of hilarity and laughter.   Room 17B is loosely based in an office building, but don't worry, that' not really the important part.  Four gentlemen who never utter more than a grunt, a groan or a scream bring a genre of years past back to life with side-splitting results.  Joel Jeske, Danny Gardner, Brent McBeth and Mike Dobson take 65 minutes that you may have otherwise thrown down the toilet and turn it into sheer physical entertainment.

Part vaudeville, part silent film, part mime, part slapstick, and part physical comedy, these four characters present over 20 skits in and around this mysterious office filled from floor to ceiling with file drawers - many of which hide a prop or device needed to help the silent actors convey the story. Beware, though - - audience participation is mandatory and the theatre is small - so you're likely to be scrutinized very closely for a minor part in the evening's script.

For such a small production I marveled at the professionalism and skills of the actors.  It seemed like they had been working together for years!   Lighting and sound were brilliant and while I'm not a fan of the audience participation schtick - it was all crafted to make each chosen audience member feel like they were made an honorary member of the show.  Kudos to the boys of 17B.