Improvised Drinking Thriller
This show began with a run at iO the second half of last year and I was kicking myself that I didn’t get a chance to see it. Lucky for all of us, it has now had it’s run extended at The Annoyance Theatre until the end of April. The show begins with an audience suggestion of something to fear and then the players create an hour long thriller in the style of Alfred Hitchcock. Any elements you might associate with a “thriller,” you’ll find them here. You’ll also find alcoholic beverages. As it is clearly stated at the beginning of the show, each cast member must always accept a drink when offered and must finish their drink by the end of the scene. Hitch*Cocktails is an exceptional genre improvised comedy and only gets better as each cast member’s wits are tested as the show progresses, both by their peers and their drinking tolerance.
“Facebook” was the suggestion to the show I had the pleasure of watching last weekend. The cast proceeded to make plenty of references to people’s faces, event invitations, acquaintances, cat photos, photo albums, news feeds, relationship statuses and more. Meanwhile each character became a prominent part of the plot. Mel Evans and C.J. Tuor opened the show by establishing themselves as a new couple in town wanting to throw a housewarming party to meet the neighbors. Then you witnessed Jennifer, a surveyor (Brit Belsheim) going door to door in the neighborhood and mysteriously disappearing after entering Bill Weatherford (Caleb George) and his daughter Mary’s (Alex Young) home. After Jennifer (the surveyor) went missing, Mel Evan’s character was convinced she had witnessed a murder and that set the stage for the rest of the show. Let me just quickly mention that if Alex Young only ever plays one character for the rest of her life, I hope it’s this awkward, anti-social, almost mute, small child. For saying very few words, she killed me. Hilarious.
The plot progressed as Brit Belsheim entered as the drunk, barren wife of the mayor. Brilliant choice if you ask me, because no one really knew how intoxicated she actually was and she more than convincing. Bill Weatherford was identified as the architect of the city and his gleaming pride was this bell tower that ended up resurfacing throughout the second half of the show. In an effort to figure out if Jennifer (the surveyor) really was indeed a neighbor, they questioned if “Jenny was from the block” and I think the JLo fans out there would appreciate this line just as much as I did. Perfect timing and thank you for incorporating Jennifer Lopez into a Hitchcock-themed improv show.
The show wrapped up as Bill Weatherford was identified as the murderer and Mary was identified as his wife, not daughter. There was a dramatic chase up the bell tower where Mary ended up pushing Bill into a fire and then committing suicide in the same fiery pit of death.
There may have been a drink spilled on stage. There may have been cats killed on stage. There were definitely numerous bottles of alcohol consumed and there was absolutely a delighted audience when the lights came up. Hitch*Cocktails is such a fun and intelligent show and every single member of this cast is insanely talented. Do yourselves a favor and make it to The Annoyance before the end of April to see this show. You’ll die of laughter…
The full cast includes: Mike Norris, Caleb George, Mel Evans, C.J. Tuor, Brit Belsheim, Alex Young, Cynthia Bancert, Jason Stockdale and The Notorious Players Jazz Band. Directed by Stephanie McCullough Vlcek.
*Update: Hitch*Cocktails currently has extended their run at The Annoyance until the end of August 2013, Friday nights at 10:30pm.