When I walk into a theater to see a show with a name as esoteric as Dorks on the Loose: Facey Facey Face Face, I assume that it’s going to be either remarkably charming and innovative, or remarkably obnoxious.
I do this, of course, because I am a presumptuous jackass. But in this case, I happened to be right. This production falls squarely into the first category.
Phaea Crede and Becca Jones, known to some Fringe audience members from last year’s Dorks on the Loose: It I Awkward, return this year with a sketch comedy medley that is fast-moving, intelligent, and really, really funny. The title and opening sequence – a rapid-fire series of musings on the word “face” – would suggest that the idea of faces, literal and figurative, is the thematic link between the individual pieces. (Whether this proves to be the case is arguable, and many of the sketches have only the most tangential relationship to the idea. But even if you notice this, it isn’t until afterwards, because the majority of them are incredibly entertaining in and of themselves.)
The production aesthetic here is minimalist, with only a couple of chairs for a set and assorted costume pieces to suggest character. This stripped-down feel can stamp amateurism across a production’s so to speak-face. (Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry.) But that’s not the case here, and in fact it serves the Dorks well, because it puts the main focus on the strongest point of the show: the writing.
The sketches, all performed with high energy and aplomb by Crede and Jones, strike a variety of tones. Some are goofy, as with a ballet-instructor sketch whose comedy actually comes from making silly faces. But there’s also a darker, cynical streak which shows itself now and again, particularly on the topics of high school and show business. And some of them are downright postmodern; these are my personal favorites. There’s a scene about time-travelers that fits hilariously into that group, as well as what could only be described as a “meta-sketch” at (and about) the middle of the show. I won’t say any more about the individual pieces, because you should really just see it.
My only real complaint is that I wanted it to be longer. A lot of sketch comedy these days strikes a cleverer-than-thou posture and makes you feel like if you don’t find it amusing, it’s your fault. Facey Facey Face Face, cute name aside, avoids this by keeping generally good-natured. This, along with the fact that it’s also very funny, does it much credit.
Dorks on the Loose: Facey Facey Face Face
By Phaea Crede and Becca Jones
Directed by Justin Shatraw
Produced by Delusions of Spandex
Reviewed by David Winkler