Arts & Entertainment
Prime Ribbin' Well Done
By John Quinn
Originally printed 10/31/2013 (Issue 2144 - Between The Lines News)
The headline suggests gastronomic blasphemy, but, although this original sketch comedy is entitled "Medium RARRR," there's nothing medium about it. The comedy quartet RARRR, 2013 Colony Fest winners, is bringing some sizzle to Planet Ant Theater's 20th anniversary celebration.
Sketch comedy is the high wire act of the theater. It's daring, edgy and unexpected. It's not for the inexperienced. It demands trust, understanding and compatibility with one's fellow artists. RARRR has all that in spades.
Through a series of vignettes, their production gives us a curb-side view of a parade of quirky Metro Detroiters. The added attraction is, while the individual scenes appear unrelated at first, we learn the dozen or so characters are caught in a "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" kind of network.
The four artists - Amber Hunt, Nuverre Naami, Tom Novik and Jason Valentini - don and doff wigs, costumes, accents, and even a soul patch to create thoroughly rounded, believable personalities. That is spite of the fact that their bunch of oddballs are really "out there." The material is slick, frequently witty, but comes with a bite. The troupe's running gag about chain restaurants can be truly gagging, but wickedly funny.
To put "Medium RARRR" on stage, the troupe turned to the formidable, perennial Wilde Award nominee (and winner) Quintin Hicks for stage director. The result is fast-paced comedy that never seems forced. The humor unfolds naturally through an improbable plot, but even more from finely-honed character study. There are no stereotypes around; "Medium RARRR" is as fresh and meaty as a Chicago porterhouse.
Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck. 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Nov. 9. 1 hour, 10 minutes; no intermission. $10. 313-365-4948. http://www.planetant.com