A RAUCOUS, ROUGH-EDGED NIGHT OF LAUGHTER
Celebrating its amazing 30 year anniversary, Boom Chicago has dished up a new improv show to mark the occasion. Considering the challenges to live venues in the last few years, it’s a pretty mean achievement. More than 15,000 shows later, CEO Saskia Maas and co-founder Andrew Moskos took to the stage, looking rightly proud, to kick off the new show last night.
BOOM ROASTED, does what the title says, mocking America, the Netherlands and a few other countries along the way too, much to the audience’s delight. In fact, it is mainly the Netherlands that comes in for derision, with numerous mentions of it’s bland food, meanness and lack of tact or emotion. If these comic gambits are a bit long in the tooth, it didn’t matter much to the audience. They lapped it up and were clearly having a raucous, Tuesday night out.
The subject matter may not have moved on much, but tech-wise we are treated to a loud, modern, glitzy show with cool projections and slick lighting. I was a bit disappointed, given that this is their permanent venue, that the sound wasn’t better, with body mics dropping out and muffling from time to time.
The show kicks off in Broadway Musical style, with a rap re-write of a ‘Hamilton’ number, led by Boom’s talented associate director, Stacey Smith. Stacey has the kind of all-round-performer chops that make her ideal for this fusion of comic genres. A number of Boom’s Alumni have gone on to make it big in America, and Stacey could well be the next to join them.
Matt Castellvi is largely in charge of the stand-up elements of the show. His comic persona amuses with a millennially split personality; mostly self-deprecating but then switching back on loud, brash, mouthy American male. His rapid-fire dissing of countries as shouted out by the audience was quick-witted and clever. Other moments of the show though came across as well-rehearsed routines and sketches, given the gloss of being spontaneous. With some barely-disguised plants in the audience or by choosing to hear a ‘convenient’ suggestion, the sketch or song could progress and deliver a succession of laughs and punch-lines. Still, the audience went for it hook, line and sinker.
Beach Blanket Babylon this isn’t, and on that note I wouldn’t have minded more costumes and some basic choreography (too many static straight lines across the stage). But as they say themselves, this is a dip in, bachelorette, boozy night out and in that respect it delivers full satisfaction. Full Cast – Stacey Smith, Matt Castellvi, Katie Nixon, Raquel Palmas and Louie Cordon. Nicholas Stanley 23rd May 2023
Second helpings of ROAST are on 24, 25, 26 & 27 May.