By Janine Kritschgau '18, Features Editor
My experience at the 26th Annual Comfest was pretty good. I attended the very last show, on Sunday Feb. 15, in which professional groups Gentlemen Party and Baby Wants Candy performed. Gentleman Party, a Chicago-based troupe made up of six males and a female, opened the event. The group performed a handful of prepared sketches. One of the most popular-- based on the audience's reaction-- was their very first. The skit was a playful take on mind-trickery in which the audience is convinced a man is addressing his children as “little mangoes,” but the mangoes are actually fruit. The hilarious skit closed with the words “you’re crazy!” projected on the set. The audience went wild.
Crowd members seemed more divided during other sketches. For example, one sketch, where a pastor is attempting to baptize a child but becomes feverishly concerned about some rancid room-temperature shrimp he had just consumed, was so repetitive and feverish that some audience members were not left laughing.
Baby Wants Candy, however, delivered a strong performance from start to finish. By inviting a random volunteer to the stage and conducting a short interview about their life, the cast improvised a series of scenes that satirically replicated the volunteer’s life story. This seemed impressive enough, but ultimately was just a warm-up for the lengthy, completely improvised musical the group went on to perform.
Audience suggestions for the title of the musical were plentiful. The group led an audience cheer contest to decide between two options: “The True Meaning of the Color Blue” (which was an audience suggestion used in a recent Ad-Lib performance at JKB), and “Downton Rabbi.” The latter won.
What followed was an impressive forty-five minute performance. The actors were surprisingly good singers, who artfully created spontaneous songs including choruses sung in unison and various verses. An equally impressive improv band accompanied the actors during each song. Horse impersonations and proclamations of love for a ‘Lady Mary’ played by troupe member Rachel Wenisky highlighted the performance. The crowd was consistently entertained throughout the musical, and left the theater with the satisfaction of a night well spent.