Bathroom Humor. To be honest, when I think of bathroom humor, I think of one of those books you buy that are filled with jokes, stories and tasteless cartoons to keep you occupied when you are in the middle of nature’s business. If you have ever read one of those books, you probably have noticed that some of the jokes are funny…and some of them are decidedly not. “Bathroom Humor,” currently on porcelain display at Blank Canvas Theatre, written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore of “Love, Sex and the I.R.S.” fame, takes this script through the comedic spaghetti approach. Throw the jokes at the bathroom wall and see what sticks. Director Patrick Ciamacco engages this piece by casting a diverse group of crazy actors that couldn’t care less about meaningful material, and are brave enough to dive into the crazy pool.
So the story happens in the bathroom, which is the entire set, of the office party of the year. Laura (Ashley Conlon), who is married to Arthur (Luke Scattergood), is having an affair with Sandy (David Turner), one of Arthur’s employees. Sandy is a nervous fellow who is trying to work up the nerve to ask Arthur for a raise during the party. Arthur, who owns his own company, struggles with the temptation to have an affair with Babette (Tamicka Scruggs), a man-chaser who works for him and wants desperately to get him alone and undressed. Stu (Jeffrey Glover) is a degenerate whose goal for the evening is to consume massive quantities of drugs and alcohol. Peg (Jenna Messina) is a sweet person who is struggling to overcome her self-image and “fit in.” The Big El (Steven Schuerger) is a not-too-talented Elvis impersonator who has been hired as the party entertainer, and Peg’s father (Len Lieber) is just trying to use the bathroom for its original use. With one door, a tub covered with a shower curtain, and a window, there aren’t a lot of places to hide. And the medicine cabinet becomes quite the epicenter.
While it is hard to sustain slapstick humor for an entire evening, I did laugh. And more importantly, the audience laughed. There were things that made me giggle: Embodying her character’s catch phrase, “Rubenesque is coming back,” Messina is very funny, whether taking flossing to a new level or delivering her one woman show called “Peg and the Zipper,” which is pure comedic delight. Glover, wearing a wig that reminded me of Norman Bates’ mother, is a demented and very funny drugged out hot mess–and in a moment of self-actualization, gets to nail the biggest laugh in the show. The rest of the cast rocks the proceedings with their quirkiness. Scattergood as the disheveled, window crashing boss; Conlon with her wandering libido; Scruggs with a body that could stop traffic and her character’s athletic approach to love; Schuerger who gives a whole new meaning to an “enhanced” Elvis sighting with a crotch that moves more than the polar vortex; Turner who singlehandedly will bring back the mustache to great heights; and Lieber, whose determination to potty is relentless.
Mr. Ciamacco not only provided Direction, but also the Set Design and served as Technical Director. Scattergood had good choices as Costume Designer. And Cory Molner provided sound Lighting Design.
If you are looking for a real story, it isn’t here. But did you think there was going to be, judging by the title? This is just silly fun that regulars will find funny, and newbies might or might not be impressed.
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$15 General Admission440) 941-048
Blank Canvas Theatre
78th Street Studios
1305 West 80th Street, Suite 211
Cleveland, OH 44102