Duo connects in 'Wirelessless'

By Donald V. Calamia

A short time ago, the subdivision I live in lost its internet connection for nearly 48 hours. So there I was with no access to the World Wide Web, no e-mail, no TV and no phone service. Yes, it was a major inconvenience - but no one in my neighborhood seemed too upset with the situation. Not so, however, with the citizens of Webbland - as seen in Go Comedy's latest original comedy, "Wirelessless," that runs every Thursday at 10 p.m. through March 29.

The town, known as the world's hottest Wi-Fi spot, quickly descends into lawlessness after its internet stops working. Riots break out in the streets, and after four days, much of the citizenry has disappeared - including the mayor. Which makes you wonder if he was somehow to blame for not only the internet shutdown, but also the loss of 3G phone service.

But I digress. With only a handful of citizens remaining, how does the town survive and go about its business? Meanwhile, will the folks at the Webbland Space Center figure out what caused the service disruption and get it fixed? And what the heck do the Russians have to do with this?

All those questions and more are explored in this almost-two-person show written by and starring Joe Hingelberg and Travis Pelto. It's a tour-de-force performance, as Hingelberg and Pelto each play numerous characters to near perfection - men and women, young and old - often switching back and forth between them in a flash. What's more, a simple scarf or string of pearls is all that's needed to help the actors differentiate their characters; their facial features, voices and mannerisms do all the rest.

Hingelberg - a shining up-and-comer and a personal favorite since his first appearance on the improv scene a few years or so back - is especially adept at creating quirky characters, and "Webbland" allows him to reach brave, new heights in that regard. He's a shirtless rioter in one scene, in his boxer-briefs in another (as the town's astronaut floating in zero-gravity), and his other personas range from a dimwitted British-sounding tollgate keeper to an "old stink pot" with a need to boogey.

Pelto, too, earns plenty of laughs as Lynette, the town librarian who comes up with the plan that takes the show to its darker-than-expected conclusion; John the Mayor; Frank, the co-host of the town's only radio talk show (with one of the funniest bits of the production); and an assortment of other male and female oddballs.

The comedy's quick pace and flow of important information are kept in check by director Bryan Lark. The sound design by Lark and Peter Jacokes adds to the show's overall success.

So if you can stay awake for a late night, 60-minute-plus 10 p.m. comedy, turn off your cell phone, sit back and enjoy the work of two of the improv scene's brightest young performers as they stretch their comfort zones - and succeed!

REVIEW:

'Wirelessless'

Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale. 10 p.m. Thursdays through March 29. $5. 248-327-0575. http://www.gocomedy.net

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