Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: (Montreal) Whiteman’s Whiskey Comedy Revue: One of Everything for the Boys

Where The Boys Are
A Festive revue just in time
by Chris Lane

Sidemart Theatrical Grocery’s latest version of their Whiteman’s Whiskey Comedy Revue, entitled One of Everything for the Boys, is simple, charming and wonderfully entertaining. It is a witty and clever piece of satirical theatre which is hard not to like. 

The show is a tongue-in-cheek take on a 1950s televised variety show with an in-studio audience. Their variety show broadcasts from a generic foreign country which is the location of an ongoing war, so the comedy revue is intended to boost the morale of the valiant troops, represented by the show’s actual audience. The actors play up the glorification of the war and the righteousness of its promoters.  They also play up the implicit racism and sexism that was prevalent and broadly accepted on television in the mid-20th century. While largely spoofing television from the 50s, many components of their satire are still relevant today, such as their playing on the paternalistic attitude of Western countries in war efforts.
The show, while broadly a series of sketches, is nicely tied together as one episode of a variety show that has a rough storyline of the characters in and out of the television special. The performance is filled with witty lines and sketches that make the audience feel as if we are in on a joke that the characters are missing. While fun and seemingly simplistic, everything about the performance is polished, and the songs they perform, with silly, self-aware lyrics, are always note-perfect when they need to be. The actors do an excellent job of keeping the song and dance numbers artistically strong while still being instruments for satire.

Whiteman’s Whiskey Comedy Revue is an entirely original show, written by the performers themselves. The fact that they created the piece themselves shows through in their performance, as their roles seem to be second nature to them. 

One of Everything for the Boys is a very entertaining performance that is full of energy, and the variety show format makes it stand out from other more typical works of theatre. Their social commentary is smart and meaningful, but they do not let that get in the way of a fun and joyful experience.

Whiteman’s Whiskey Comedy Revue: One of Everything for the Boys is playing Wednesday-Sunday at 8pm at Mainline Theatre until December 18th.

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