Comedy, Sketch shows
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Photograph: Elizabeth Morris

TJ and Dave's latest revue finds comedy in awkward situations but often stops short of baring it all.

The most impactful moment in Undressed, the new sketch revue from TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi, comes shortly after intermission, when Laurel Krabacher delivers a monologue about how her father came out of the closet when she was a child. With Mike Brunlieb playing her father, she describes how their relationship has changed—and remained the same—over time. It’s unclear if the story is autobiographical or not, but it doesn’t matter—its candor is simultaneously touching and hilarious.

The sketches in Undressed explore similar situations in which individuals are exposed, voluntarily or not. It’s a premise with a lot of comedic potential, but too much of the show—including the majority of its first half—is spent going after obvious targets like PBS hosts running pledge drives, awkward lovers on first dates and internet trolls.

Riskier sketches that supply quick revelations and derive humor from reactions instead of escalation are saved for the show's second act. These include Peter Collins's turn as a boastful guy who finally has sex with his high school teacher 20 years after graduation and an extended meet-cute between two corporate drones that is fraught with miscommunication.

"We're most honest when we're naked," the cast sings in the revue's closing musical number, championing emotional frankness over the buried feelings that guide most human interactions. Undressed is at its best when it clings to this ethos, but—much like the characters that inhabit the show—it often seems hesitant about baring it all.

The Mission Theater. Written and performed by Mike Brunlieb, Peter Collins, James Dugan, Paul Grondy, Mike Jimerson, Laurel Krabacher, Irene Marquette. Directed by TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. Running time: 1hr 40mins; one intermission.

By: Zach Long


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