Sketch comedy is surely one genre that’s meant to pack a punch…line, in a format that delivers comedy short and sweet. With Brick Penguin Tries Its Best, the noted sketch comedy group Brick Penguin takes a shot at tons of topics, ranging from the über-local to poking fun at Hollywood. Though the laughs were there, the sketches would often drag in time, in setups that were explained in seconds but lasted many minutes.
In fact, the show is advertised as being 90 minutes long but actually went to 105 minutes on opening night, a testament to its leisurely pace and a big Fringe no-no. A couple of audience members actually left early as the show went past time. The performances were actually at their best when brevity was employed, as in one sketch meant to be a commercial for a new TV show, which ended with the audience cracking up.
It’s clear that the ensemble – John Blakeslee, John Calcerano, Murphy McHugh, Natalie Sayth and Amy Vance – are tight-knit and that this is some of their best material. Embodying the different Metro lines was an especially clever scene, and topical given the upcoming opening of the Silver line.
Brick Penguin Tries Its Best
by Brick Penguin
90 – 105 minutes
at The Fridge
516 1/2 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Details and tickets
Rather than seeming like daring, “no holds barred” comedy, a few scenes seemed to be using obscenity for shock value rather than as part of a strong narrative.
Brick Penguin’s take on television and media, however, is where they shine. Several television previews and commercials got the most chuckles, and their takes on iconic shows (like The Twilight Zone) were delightful.
But the ensemble could do to learn that “brevity is the soul of wit” for future performances. Then, their penguin might not have to try so hard.
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