Theatre Review: Why So Sirius?

review

Live performance of Right Between the Ears: seen October 15, 2011

Anyone who knows me knows my love of old time radio. Whether it’s my two posts regarding seeing Prairie Home Companion, my repeated plugs for the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, or even my own venture into doing radio plays during the 2010 summer at the Alcott Arts Center, I have always had a fascination for radio productions, with my biggest joy being the Foley artist. I’ve wanted to do an article on Right Between the Ears for a couple of years now, and was very excited when I heard they were doing a live production.

RBTE is a sketch comedy show broadcast weekly on Laugh USA Sirius-XM 96 (Saturdays 7 pm Central) and on Kansas Public Radio stations (Sundays 7 pm Central on KPR 1 and Sundays 2 pm on KPR 2). And occasionally, they have performances open to the public, with all the bells and whistles (sometimes even literally), including an ‘on air’ and ‘applause’ sign.

Photo courtesy Right Between the Ears
Photo courtesy Right Between the Ears

Somewhat similar in vein to Prairie Home Companion, the show has a small cast of actors as well as a Foley artist doing various sketches that cover the gamut, from the Republican debates to dads who can’t cook. Like improv, reviewing this show is intrinsically specific: it’s highly doubtful that if you listen to their show or plan on going to their next show that you will hear any of the same skits that I witnessed on Saturday’s performance (doubly so since this performance had two young performers from RBTE’s radio camp they ran this past summer).

The humor is right up my alley (and liberal) right off the bat, with a sketch about the various Republican debates, with no one safe from the biting wit of the cast. (However, Obama isn’t safe either, with a bit on his continued ‘negotiations’ with the Republicans also getting a note.) While not every sketch was a home run, each sketch still managed to get a chuckle (or groan) out of me – and thankfully, the sketches were short enough to where the ones that were not home runs were over quick enough to not matter.

Kudos out to the two ‘graduates’ of radio camp, as they did the production as professional as possible, playing the various kid roles they got with gusto. And while not listed on their website, I wondered how much of the show the cast themselves were familiar with the script before recording, as some scenes were getting chuckles from the other cast members as well. Each role was done with obvious enjoyment (although the Obama impersonation was a little weak, while the gentleman playing Herman Cain got him spot on). What Foley was done was done well, although there wasn’t near as much as I had hoped (and they relied on recorded sound effects more than I expected).

The production was well worth it, and I even preferred being up in the balcony versus on the floor, as it gave me a much better view of the overall scene.

While you can hear RBTE weekly on the above radio stations, if you want to see them live, you’ll have to wait until February 11. However, more information about their company, including on demand audio and video as well as a chance to buy tickets to their next show, CDs, and other merchandise, visit their website at rightbetweentheears.com.

This review has been posted to the KC Stage review system. Agree or disagree? You can rate / review this show yourself (requires free registration) by going to KC Stage.