Hip Shot: Relationsh!t
Bedroom – Fort Fringe
Sunday July 27, 3:45 p.m.
They Say: Awkward break-ups, fights with lovers, miscommunication with grandma: every relationship has its complications. Come explore the ups and downs of the human connection through sketch comedy. Take a big whiff of the truth: all relationships are a little shitty.
Val's Take: "Relationshit" might be a Freudian slip of the tongue, uttered in moments of frustration, but more often than not, it's a play on words that's spit out purposefully, followed by a tag like "am I right?" and meant to pick up a cheap and easy laugh. The remainder of the jokes aren't nearly as hacky as the title, but this is definitely one of the more lighthearted offerings on the always fecund subject of relationships, and the play succeeds for not taking itself too seriously.
Although the play's description states "all relationships are a little shitty," this performance mostly deals with romantic relationships and the fallout thereof. A horndog grandmother makes a brief and hilarious appearance, and there are a few sketches that illuminate how relationships between friends can veer toward the uncomfortable, but for the most part, these sketches actually explore (okay, skewer) one type of relationship in multiple ways. Don't go into this expecting to see fights between siblings or re-enactments of unfortunate co-worker scenarios.
To be fair, the scenes in which writers/performers Shannon Riley and Jessica Cooper choose to illustrate the weirdness of interpersonal relationships are very creative. Are there tearful reactions to old breakups placed within the framework of a booze-guzzling British rock show? Oh, yes. Will they wonderfully and inappropriately handle the subject of desired pregnancy under the guise of an infomercial? Absolutely. Will "The Sound of Silence" make an appearance during a perhaps too-familiar scene between a teen and a AAA agent? Yes, and you'll roll over with laughter.
Sure, there are a few oft-explored vignettes, like two partners annoying each other as they struggle to just go to sleep. Perhaps because I'd already seen Brick Penguin Tries Its Best give its take on very similar subject matter, it was clear almost immediately how the passionate argument between the fighting parents was going to end. However, the recurring "drunk ballet" in which Riley and Cooper stumble their way through the irritating experience of assisting a blackout drunk person to Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Reed Pipes" is worth the price of admission. Also, look for a subtle callback late in the play to bring a huge laugh.
See it if: You want a delightful palate-cleanser to close out your Fringe Festival.
Skip it if: You're still aggrieved about how things ended with that that last ex, and are only capable of consuming art that mirrors your bitterness.