Curtain Call: Shadowbox After Dark

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The merrymakers at Shadowbox are usually known for their hilarious sketches, but their saucy new show Shadowbox After Dark owes much of its success to the musical selection.

The seemingly endless set list runs the gamut from pop to '80s hair bands, from blues to Michael Jackson (who really is a genre all his own). And all that music is the perfect complement to the show's focus on love, relationships and sex.

Among the night's highlights are Jennifer Hahn's rendition of Flyleaf's "All Around Me," Noelle Grandison's version of Jackson's "Beat It," Nikki Fagin's silky performance of Sade's "Smooth Operator" and Mary Randle's take on Motley Crue's "Girls Girls Girls," which comes with the added bonus of six sexy, gyrating backup singers and dancers.

BillWho? guitarist and bandleader Matt Hahn also deserves a nod for an amazing solo during Julie Klein's smokin' performance of Robert Cray's "These Things." It's a show-stopping number that, conveniently, closes the show on a high note.

The troupe does go through a few low notes to get there, though, particularly during the comedy portion of the show. Both "Construction Guise," in which a group of veteran construction workers instruct a rookie on proper cat-calling, and "Love Stinks," about a new spray product that eliminates nauseating PDA, have the tendency to get predictable and repetitive - two adjectives not usually associated with Shadowbox's sketch comedy.

Luckily, the company manages to come back strong after those few early missteps. "Girls 201" features the return of Shadowbox's resident nerd trio (played by Jimmy Mak, Andrew Cioffi and David Whitehouse) as they meet their blind dates, who give the three competition for geekiest.

Continuing the geeky love trend is "Going Solo," following Han and Leia's (Mak and Amy Lay) attempts to keep the passion going after the exciting rebellion detailed in the Star Wars movies dies down.

Also returning this time around are everyone's favorite South Side residents Puck and Misty Duck (Whitehouse and Lay), competing on "The Newly Unwed Game." The sketch, though, is stolen by Kaleigh Lockhart, whose contestant Michelle is a little too chipper while trying to win a divorce after a drunken Vegas wedding.

It's the kind of crazy performance that showcases the next wave of Shadowbox talent, and that talent looks to be incredible.

"Shadowbox After Dark"

When: Through March 6

Where: Shadowbox, Easton