Anthony J. Piccione
- New York Theatre Critic
Four shows and 16 overall performances later, the Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble’s 2018 season has reached its end. For their season finale, thankfully, I was finally able to catch them on their opening night, for once. Unfortunately, while it may not have been outright bad, their last show of the season also proved to be perhaps their least satisfying, in terms of its comedic bite.
The show – starring a mix of IRTE regulars and guest stars – takes place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world where a scientist creates a robot girl to be his daughter, and follows the story of this robot girl, her grappling with her place in the family, and how they all got to this bizarre place in human history…while poking fun at cheesy TV sitcoms that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s, along the way.
There are a fair number of funny moments, here and there, and as usual, the acting from IRTE is decent. However, for the most part, it simply feels underwhelming, and relies a bit too heavily on the sci-fi shtick of this particular concept to keep the audience’s attention. Not that it’s bad, but rather, a tad bit less engaging than some of the laugh lines in their other shows. Furthermore, it was not until toward the climax of the show – involving a confrontation between the robotic girl and her “family” – that I particularly cared for what was largely a mediocre and aimless plot, beyond the initial premise that the show revolves around.
If there are any notable highlights to the show, its musical guest David Jay, who entertains the crowd throughout the show with covers of various pop classics from David Bowie to Daft Punk, among others. I admit that I even felt tempted to sing along, toward the end! Also, the faux commercials in-between scenes were mildly amusing, as they drew upon random suggestions provided by the audience before the show. Between this show and the 1st of the season, this one actually did have more use of actual improve incorporated into the show – it seemed – than the two in-between.
To be fair, I’ve reviewed enough of their shows to know that some of their show concepts are better than others. However, every troupe has its shows that fail to stand out, and this one – not unlike many of the TV sitcoms that it’s clearly parodying – falls short in comedic areas where their past shows were stronger, as far as I’m concerned. There are still two more performances left of this outing from IRTE, so feel free to go and check it out yourself. Perhaps some of the jokes might be more enjoyable to you, than they were to me.
“Wow Wee 2! Adventures of a Little Girl Killbot” – presented by Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble – runs at the Producers Club from June 22nd to 30th. For more information, please visit www.irteinfo.com.