I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t take much to make me laugh. But it’s not often that I cry from laughing so hard; this feat is usually only accomplished by Brave New Workshop’s sketch comedy shows. The silly and lovable cast of Comedy Suitcase had me crying tears of laughter in The Averagers: Christmas War at Bryant Lake Bowl. I saw the original show of The Averagers at the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival which delighted me with its nods to Minnesotan culture and over-the-top, tongue in cheek nature, so I had high expectations for their follow up show, Christmas War.
As luck would have it, Christmas War is just as fun, and the show starts off by introducing us to the villain that is the Spoonbridge and Cherry come to life. (This may have been extra funny to me as my fellow theater blogger, Cherry and Spoon, was sitting next to me in the audience.) The Averagers quickly assemble to take on the evil sculpture, and we meet Captain Average, Iron Range Man, Black Wood Tick, Paul Bunyan, and Passive-Aggressive Bulk.
Because they have destroyed one too many landmarks and parks in their various battles, the Parks and Rec board wants control over The Averagers, which divides the team between who’s on board with the idea and who isn’t. This leads each side to recruiting new members and we meet a wide variety of superheroes and villains, ranging from Grant Man to the Purple Panther to Spider Monkey Man, each one as ridiculous as the last. We travel from Como Zoo to First Avenue to SuperTarget, and the script plays on our love of all things Prince, the spiciness of ketchup, our sports woes, and more.
The whole cast has wonderful chemistry as they each portray multiple characters throughout, often breaking character to improvise a little (even giving the audience a little crap for not getting a joke here and there), so no two shows will be exactly the same. If you come across these names, I’d recommend seeing whatever they’re performing in: Joshua English Scrimshaw, Dan Hetzel, Matthew Kessen, Duck Washington, Eric Webster, Levi Weinhagen, Laura Zabel, and last but not least, superkid Irene Weinhagen.
This team knows comedy and you can tell they genuinely enjoy what they do. And for someone who’s a little more on the Scrooge side of Christmas, the Christmas stuff wasn’t too much for me. I enjoyed the quick-moving story, the wacky characters, and excellent use of the BLB theater. Even if you don’t know anything about The Avengers but you love Minnesota, or even if you’re just in need of a good laugh (which a lot of us are these days, right?), don’t miss this show which runs through December 11. Click here to purchase tickets.
The Averagers: Christmas War
Comedy Suitcase at Bryant Lake Bowl
November 25 – December 11