Fresh out of Boris’ Kitchen puns
Last week, Brandeis’ sketch comedy group, Boris’ Kitchen, held its annual “Shit Show” in Mandel. The show reused sketches that had been performed in previous years and were written by former members, which meant that all of the sketches were at least four years old. Though the director, Claudia Davis ’19, prefaced the show with a warning about some sketches being a little tone deaf, they went over well with the audience.
The show started shakily with a sketch about a man marrying his imaginary girlfriend — its quirkiness overstayed its welcome. As the show progressed, the sketches improved. The evening peaked during a sketch in which two children were restricted to playing downstairs with inferior toys by an ominous Stairmaster who has “no relation to the exercise equipment,” portrayed by Perry Letourneau ’20. The skit was filled to the brim with fun jokes and riddles. The two children, Alan Omari ’20 and Davis, had great chemistry and worked well opposite Letourneau’s manic energy.
The troop is full of energetic actors such as the aforementioned veterans, as well as newcomer Pierce Robinson ’22. In addition to Letourneau and Omari, who have audiences in the palms of their hands as they relish every moment on stage, Robinson stole many a scene, and even salvaged some of the poor sketches. Their monk sketch about exaggerated metaphors about life and some “Brandeis jock” skits come to mind. Mumbles regarding his performance filled the Mandel Center for The Humanities atrium as the audience exited the auditorium. I look forward to seeing more of Robinson’s antics in the future.
Some other great skits included a revealing episode of Jeopardy starring the always-funny Dane Leoniak ’20 as Alex Trebek and a meta-discussion among the entire cast about their writing process. They even managed to fit in a few jabs at Brandeis improv groups, saying, “There hasn’t been good improv on campus in 31 years.” Those were classic, above-average BK skits that left the audience bursting with uproarious laughter.
Unfortunately, there was also no shortage of mediocre writing. Disregarding the aforementioned monk and Brandeis jock sketches, a two-part skit which took place at an elementary school did not pan out well. The actors onstage all had high society accents that bled into British and Australian. Whether these poor accents were purposefully horrible doesn’t dismiss the fact that my patience with them grew thin almost immediately. While the first half of the sketch provided a mediocre setup, the second half, which we unfortunately returned to 20 minutes later, was an underwhelming, loud and unsatisfying payoff. I might even rope the unmemorable final skit into this category as well. Anderson Stinson III ’21 made a great newborn baby; his emergence from Leoniak was the only funny part of the finale.
From a technical standpoint, the group put on a great show. The props were fun, the staging was engaging and the music and lighting appropriately set the mood. Davis did a great job directing the group and should be proud of her vision for her final “Shit Show.” The evening by and large was entertaining. I look forward to seeing the other newbies step up and find voices of their own, as well as to watching the veterans improve their craft with every coming show. BK will always get my recommendation.