21st Century Funhouse
What could I possibly say during the course of this review that could call more attention to or provide more advertising for this show than the name of the group itself?
The answer is nothing. The only thing I can do is prepare you a little so you don't get hurt or scared.
The House of Cunt fuses sketch comedy with performance art. Each member of the group seems to be bursting with ideas for ridiculous characters, which they release through a slew of unconnected skits, songs, and movement pieces.
Cunt is not the most clever theater group in town, but they may be the most committed. They don't write great dialogue or memorable lyrics, and many of their ideas would never have made it past the brainstorming round with most companies. But their enthusiasm is relentless. They possess their characters with an energy that is somehow both manic and confident. They know they are compelling, and they know it with such fervor, they make you know it, too.
The best example of this phenomenon occurs in the show's opening act, where the group hits the stage decked out in full hillbilly attire, playing cardboard cut-out "instruments" to the tune of arousing, pre-recorded square dance song. The idea in summary sounds insipid: silly caricatures rocking out on fake instruments. But it's hysterically funny because the actors are so excited to bring it to fruition. I mean, they rock out on those cardboard instruments. You won't see more dedicated jamming at any real concert this year.
The group's primary love seems to be music, as the majority of their skits involve singing or dancing to songs. Some of the songs are original, but the show is at its most entertaining when they use fucked up characters to sing old standards. A version of "Sending All My Love" by Amber Leigh Martin's surreal, hyperactive pop diva is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, and Andrew Hodgdon delivers some stellar a cappella renditions during the course of his smarmy pseudo-game-show, "You Pick the Hit, You Win the Shit."
The most impressive thing about Cunt is their ability to imbue each new character with such uniqueness. Martin is clearly the group's leader, and her talent for varying zany musician types is magnificent. She unveils crusty old lounge singers, KISS-style rockstars, and prissy dance troupe captains. Her singing voice is top-notch, and her comic timing impeccable. The other cast members don't fare much worse. Kaetlin M. Kennedy does a mean old lady enema infomercial salesperson, and Pam Carsten makes for a hysterical buck-toothed fiddler.
As the show progresses, things get more strange than funny. Cunt seems either to be unaware of this or simply not care if the audience is laughing or not. No matter what reaction they are getting, their incredible energy never fades. It is that energy that keeps the show's lunacy from getting the best of it, which holds the viewer's attention in a vice grip. You might want to laugh, or you might want to scratch your head... Hell, you might even want to cry. But, most importantly, you'll never be able to look away. You'll be afraid of what you'll miss if you do.