Thursday, March 31, 2005
MICF - Scott Brennan and Cal Wilson: Mitzi and Hammond Werlitzer's Triumphe De Force
Some characters can be great fun to play, and others can be long, hard comic slogs which require plenty of effort but deliver few genuine (rather than forced) comic moments. Mitzi and Hammond Werlitzer fall into the second category. Mitzi and Hammond are the end-of-their-long-innings vaudeville celebrities trying to squeeze every last moment out of their fifteen minutes of fame. The Wurlitzers are the creations of capable local actor/comedians Scott Brennan and Cal Wilson, and the two performers have an obvious love for the characters they’ve played. The two work fabulously well with each other, feeding off the energy of one another, which was necessary given the lukewarm response of the smallish-but-curious audience. The characters exist in their own showbizzy, parallel universe of dead lovers and stuffed cats, which only occasionally intersects with the real world. At the start, the premise has some promise, but it’s impossible to sustain for the full hour. Soon, the catchphrases and knee-slapping of the two becomes a tad grating, and the jokes start to wear thin. As strong improvisors, Brennan and Wilson seem constrained by their script, and inside you sense that the two want to break free of it and be another version of Dame Sybil Thorndyke, the British theatrical dame played by Canadian Sean Cullen, whose ridiculous storytelling is almost entirely improvised. Triumphe De Force is a brave and noble (not of the Ross variety) effort at character comedy, but falls short on laughs.