Review: Daugherty Arts
Center, April 25 10:00 p.m.
Oui Be Negroes
Houseful of Honkeys
Hosted by Fred Willard
Review by J. C. Shakespeare
Fred Willard certainly
seemed more at ease with the intimate setting at Daugherty Arts than
he'd been on stage at Palmer Auditorium. Willard's subtle but frantic
schtick translated well to the crowded, smaller room.
And the venue was perfect for the most brilliant pairing of troupes in
the festival; throw Oui Be Negroes
in with a Houseful
of Honkeys and you've got a race riot of laughs.
Artistic Director Shaun
Landry led her Chicago based troupe, Oui
Be Negroes, through a long form
Improv based on an old timey church service complete with sermons,
prayers, and spirituals. Their comedy was interesting, funny, and fresh;
hopefully their success will pave the way for more African American
troupes in the future.
Meanwhile, the Houseful of Honkeys romped
through a series of Improv games structured around a game show format
(Willard was hilarious as the nervous, inept host). While Improv games
can turn quickly into clunkers in the wrong hands, this large cast of
talented actors used everything from musical numbers to pantomime to
create a real synergy of spontaneous laughs.