Curtain Call: "Born to Be Wild"
Shadowbox's spring show may be the least focused of the troupe's sketch shows this season - the holiday show was about Christmas and the sex show was largely about sex - but it's no less rowdy than its predecessors.
Opening with a booming rendition of Kiss' "Rock 'n' Roll All Night" by the always-showstopping Mary Randle, Born to be Wild is a hit-or-miss hodgepodge of letting loose and going crazy. But the highlights more than make up for a few lulls, especially when they involve Britney Spears.
"I Love Britney" is an intricate send-up of Lucille Ball's classic sitcom, with Spears (Amy Lay) wanting desperately to appear in Ricky Ricardo's (David Whitehouse) stage act. Bonus points go to Randle for her ultra-tolerant Ethel Mertz and to house-band BillWho? drummer The Beast for being a good sport in his colorful, ruffled sleeves.
Architect Darren Wallop (Jimmy Mak) also scores laughs when he attempts to pitch his redesign of a fraternity house to the Alphas, especially when he has to update his drawings on the fly when the brothers need to know where the beer pyramid will go.
Mak returns in high form, lampooning an annoying pitchman for the Sham-Whoa, which has more than a few unique qualifications that separate it from its competitors.
He's also pitch-perfect as a put-upon Casey Kasem trying to deal with David Lee Roth (Steve Guyer) as he's forced to watch the likes of Miley Cyrus, New Kids On the Block and the Pussycat Dolls cover old Van Halen songs.
Guyer also provides the song - Mute Math's "Typical" - for the requisite song-and-dance number, which, despite a little opening-night laxity, is a mesmerizing spectacle.
Noelle Grandison's cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" kicks off the second act with a powerhouse start, but it's the closing number that really helps the show hit its peak.
While Amy Lay wails away in her version of Van Halen's "Atomic Punk," it's BillWho? guitarist Chris Lambert who raises the whole performance to another level with his lead-in cover of Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo in "Eruption." When wild and crazy sounds that good, there's no need to be sane.
"Born to Be Wild"
When: Through June 6
Where: Shadowbox, Easton