If you enjoy the sketch humor of shows like Saturday Night Live, Laugh In or a dozen other variety shows from the past then “Parallel Lives” at the Barn Players is for you. The 13 sketches poke fun at an assortment of topics from two angels inventing mankind, the Catholic religion, to a sketch called “Period Piece”, which is a hilarious look at that forbidden topic, the curse.
“Disney Mom Group Therapy” is a sidesplitting look at stage moms. Different from any other thing you’ve seen about stage moms, this sketch involves the moms of characters such as Mrs. Jumbo (played by Vicki Kerns) to Bambi’s mom (also played by Vicki Kerns), who seems to be bitter about being killed so early in the movie. One of the best characters of the skit is Aerial’s mom, Ethel Mermaid who breaks out in song (sounding like Ethel Merman) at the drop of a hat.
“Parallel Lives” is written by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney and is based on the Kathy and Mo Show. The television show appeared in the 80’s and was later turned into a two woman show on Broadway. The original play is 18 scenes with about 200 characters. Tiffany Garrison-Schweigert the director for the Barn Players production has cut the show to 13 sketches performed by six actresses.
Jennifer Coville returns to the Barn Players as Kathy and several other characters. She has previously appeared in “Marvin’s Room”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Stop Kiss”. Jennifer doubled as the Costume Designer, keeping the costumes as simple as possible for the speed of the sketches. Tracy Van Unen has appeared in two other productions at the Barn Players, “Xandu” and “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying”. This is the first production at the Barn Players for Vicki Kerns, Megan Hill, Gretchen Copeland and Helena Cosentino.
The actresses all do a wonderful job of switching characters sometimes, as with Vicki Kerns in the Disney sketch¸ within the same sketch. Their body language and the use of accents add to the humor of the play. The play sometimes provocative in subject manner and strong in language is meant for adult audiences and parents should use discretion in bringing younger children.
Tiffany Garrison-Schweigert who directed the production also served as the Sound Designer and worked with Donovan Kidd as the Set Designer. Everyone involved in the production should be commended in producing a delightfully entertaining show.
The Barn Players next production is “Revolution-A Tribute to the Beatles”. This is the Annual Fundraiser for the Barn Players and runs August 10 through August 12.