Monday, January 18, 2010

Gruber Reviews from Sketchfest

We had some unsolicited reviewers show up for Mrs Gruber's Ding Dong School at sketchfest, which is great because normally if you want reviewers to come to a sketch comedy show you have to track them down and beg them. Hooray for you, Sketchfest.

Here they are for posterity purposes:

"Meanwhile, Robot vs. Dinosaur’s full-length show, Mrs. Gruber’s Ding Dong School (which debuted last year), offered a twisted take on children’s programming (think Romper Room from hell). Using puppets, arts and crafts and events like story time to tell some pretty sick tales, the show was at its best when poking sly fun at the unrealistic crap we teach children. In one scene, the Reality Fairy sings, “While there’s unlimited dreams just for you, there’s limited money to make them come true.” And in another, a couple of sprightly puppets struggle to understand a guy dying of bone cancer (even going so far as to eat out of his bedpan). But a couple of sketches were clunkers. I didn’t care for the wife-hating Professor Smart (too hammy), or an oddball sketch about a homeless man, but the show finale, in which Mrs. Gruber is revealed to be a fraud, was a gut-buster."

-Jason Heidemann at Time Out Chicago, 1/12/2010

"Robot Vs. Dinosaur – The name gets an A; Saturday’s set, a B. The abridged version of its Gorilla Tango show, Mrs. Gruber’s Ding Dong School, starred Rebecca Levine as a kindergarten teacher bestowing bitter life lessons to a group of children. Except this class isn’t really a class at all, but something far more disturbing. Attempts at shock humor tends to be more shock than humor, but RvD manages to be both. From a pessimistic song about the futility of dreams to a courtroom re-enactment doll’s traumatic, sex-and-drugs filled confessional, this is some dark, twisted stuff – and I mean that in the best possible way. Grade: B."

-Piet Levy at True/Slant, 1/13/2010

"The evening started out with Robot vs. Dinosaur performing their current show, "Mrs. Gruber's Ding Dong School." The old schoolmarm holds things together as she takes the cast and their visiting classmates through a memorable trip through the magical world of learning. All of the children's TV notes are hit just right, with the group skewering traditional themes of sharing, field trips, and Career Day...and a disturbing Career Day at that. It's clear that the cast gels well together, carrying their individual characters well while also picking up new roles for the various scenes. In all, its a show that seemed entirely too short to us, as there was plenty of school age material to mine. Robot vs. Dinosaur worked the room extremely well, and while the show had to end eventually, it ended on a pitch perfect note."

-I See What You Did, 1/10/2010

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