2006-09-18-radiovault.jpg

Radio Vault at the Bad Dog Theatre

What would it take for you to shoot a homeless person?
Is the Dude Up There really just a ruthless, cold-blooded murderer?
When can events truly be called "good times"?
And, ladies, is Aunt Flo getting the welcome she deserves when she comes a-knockin' once a month?

Oh seekers of answers to these timeless questions of existence, I beseech thee: make the pilgrimage to Radio Vault and be enlightened.

And, if not enlightened, you'll at least walk away having had a tee-hee or three.

Radio Vault is a throwback to the days of live radio comedy. On the second Thursday of every month, five local writer/actors put on this show of original sketch comedy, performed at Bad Dog Theatre and podcast via their website.

Last Thursday saw the unveiling of a new extended program which showcases the best material from the past five shows of 2006. It quickly became apparent that taking the piss out of anyone and everyone is a house specialty. From lesbians and Catholics, to urine and periods, nothing is off-limits. Politically correct? Ha! Radio Vault laughs in the face of PC-ness. This troupe will stoop as low as it can go--terminally ill children, anyone?--churning out as many cheap gags as its merry little heart desires.

There are some real gems: witty wordplay, flat-out shameless shticks and (pop) culture parodies and vulgarities keep the funny bone tickled. Yet, ere long, the galloping-pace delivery--think sketchaftersketchaftersketchaftersketch--grows tiresome. The audience begins to tune out and the laughter begins to sound canned. Unfortunate, really, because Radio Vault has some great material, but the blink-once-and-they're-gone format means that before a punchline even sinks in, the performers have already moved on to the next gag. With zero time to switch gears, weariness begins to settle in and the audience withdraws.

Sketch comedy really is an ensemble effort and each Radio Vault performer is a bang-up talent in his or her own right. Jason Deline, Melissay Lloyd, Alex Cole, James Jeffers (left to right in above photo) each shine individually and together. Producer Neil Jones (not pictured) also chimes in with dry, witty bits here and there--particularly memorable are some Craigslist gags. Though the nature of the show dictates limited body usage and restrained movements, the actors' animated gesticulation and vocal talent--impressive in both range and expression--brought each sketch to life.

Derek Forgie of hosted the evening, a natural comic in the Conan style and great at working the crowd. Radio Vault is followed by three acts: Merv and Steve, Approximately 3 Peters and Accidental Company; unfortunately, I had to jet before they came on.

Bottom line: ace talent, good material, but execution needs tweaking. If the premises were given the opportunity to realize their full comedic potential, we could have something spectacular on our hands.

What: Radio Vault
When: Second Thursday of every month. Next shows October 13 and November 10.
Where: Bad Dog Theatre (138 Danforth, just east of Broadview)
Cost: $10


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