On the Ego Productions website (www.egoproductions.org), you will find listed a few of the sketch comedy troupe's artistic tenets, namely: "The needs of the audience are more important than the needs of the artist(s)." In a medium that's all too often characterized by artistic indulgence, it's refreshing to come across a show that brings theater back to its roots in popular entertainment.
Ego's new sketch comedy show, Superego: In the Name of Awesome, clocks in at just under an hour, and while there are some clunkers among the 14 sketches, the pace is fast enough that at least they don't drag. It's actually almost impossible to get bored during the show: The dance floor at the Fez Ballroom transforms into an intimate, cabaret-style venue, and audiences are welcome to drink and smoke during the performance.
And the show is nothing if not enjoyable. The group has a knack for injecting an element of absurdity into ordinary situations: In "Extreme Dating," a couple bungee jumps (cordless) into a pool of sharks, while in "Holistic Hospital" the New Age-y nurse tries to sedate a pre-op patient with chamomile and valerian root.
Ego Productions places heavy emphasis on a collaborative writing process, which results in clever, off-kilter scripts and punchy one-liners, but doesn't necessarily highlight the performers' strengths. The only actor who really shines is the delightfully versatile Jamie Lee Currier; the other three ensemble members seem to be simply filling in gaps in the scripts, rather than exploring individual proclivities for, say, physical comedy or deadpan delivery. This script-bound approach can also work to great effect, though, as in "The Journal," a surprisingly deep 10-minute exploration of a blind date in which a young woman reads her date's diary.
Ego Productions has figured out what their audience needs (high energy pop culture jokes, booze, and ashtrays)—and for $7 on a Friday night (which includes admission to DJ Gregarious' always smokin' Shut Up and Dance afterparty), Superego is a show you can't afford to miss.