RESIST THE URGE to stay home and watch SNL the next few Saturdays—down on SE Stark a group of talented comedians is putting on their own night of hilarious sketches.
Comedy troupe the 3rd Floor's After School Girlfight! Kill! Kill! is a night of parodies and homages. The first of the piece's three short plays, "Deep Inside the Valley of the Girl Whores," is pretty much a straight adaptation of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, with some of the more ridiculous elements exaggerated beyond their already campy dimensions. A gang of bad girls makes their way robbing and partying across the desert, eventually stumbling upon a big score, and in the process getting more than they bargained for. On the whole, it's held up by keen performances and clever staging gimmicks, but it strides a strange line between homage and parody that weakens the piece as a whole.
That's too bad, because the rest of the show is hilarious and enjoyable through and through, marked with energetic character acting and deft parody. A very believable video clip starring a fake Marlo Thomas introduces "It's Not Easy Being Teen," a vignette that clowns after-school-special tropes of the '70s and '80s. A group of square coeds invites the town's local scuzzbag to their party, and he introduces them to an escalating pharmacy of good times, from Coors to cocaine to horse tranquilizers, changing the lives of everyone there. It's a standard conceit that allows the troupe to play with caricatures and spin them out of control—and it's pretty funny.
Rounding out the show is "Supertrain!"—a campy, The Love Boat-style story staged on a transcontinental train, populated with various would-be lovers. The array of entertaining characters includes a guffawing yet morose captain, a bickering elderly couple, and an exasperated starlet. It's a well-observed parody with great comic timing, more solid acting, and a shockingly charming and spot-on musical number.
The cast's versatility is the show's major strength—Jordana Barnes and Andrew Harris in particular impressed me with their transformations between acts. But all the actors are studied and careful, turning from goons to magicians, from vixens to counselors, altering their voices and body language. Some of the humor is racy, but it stops short of brazen vulgarity—you could potentially bring your children, as long as you don't mind some violence and cleavage—and the staging is inventive and charming. It sure beats watching TV on the couch.