How do you review a show before it even happens? Well, like this:
The mantastic comedy duo of Crassus (Nat Topping and Geoff Crump) appeared at Fizz Bar tonight (Tuesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.) and killed (figuratively if not almost literally when they got in a knife fight on stage during their 12-minute set). These guys are the first spin-off* from local faves Robot vs. Dinosaur, a sketch comedy group that ranks somewhere below Monty Python and far above Think Tank and whom you should definitely be on the lookout for.
But I digress. We’re here to talk about Crassus. I really liked the show, which was a unique blend of dark humor, relationship exploration and dick joke after dick joke after somebody shat in my hand joke.
A brief breakdown of tonight’s scenes (most likely, since the show hasn’t even happened yet):
The show opened with Nat feeding Geoff grapes. The grapes were sour, however, and the end result was not only a unique play on the phrase “sour grapes” but also an exploration of what it means to be in love.
After a quick black out to move a single chair (this bit became a running part of the show and eventually led to the previously mentioned knife fight) the lights came up and the audience was hit in the face with some more comedy. In what can only be described as a “masturbatory fantasy” Nat and Geoff explored the comic possibilities of masturbation as an Olympic Sport. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the end of this one would have made Gallagher proud. Gold medals all around for their object work, too.
The third scene was probably my favorite. These guys really explored character and emotion when they portrayed two gay Siamese twins who decided to adopt a one-armed baby and bring it home for the first time. I know that doesn’t even make sense but it’s one of those “you had to be there” scenes. That the scene was wisely played for drama more than comedy speaks a lot about the talent of Nat and Geoff as they explore what it means to be a parent, and what the meaning of home is for two gay Siamese twins who live in a sausage factory. Great object work in this one, as well.
Another great scene (see picture below) featured old Nat (played by Nat) coming back to tell young Nat (played by Geoff) how to live his life. This one brought tears to my eyes.
Young Nat (Geoff) and Old Nat (Nat) discuss life, love and the best way to pleasure a whale in a scene from Crassus' first show.
The next scene dealt with Nat and Geoff’s decision to be sewn together as a human centipede, and the ensuing problem when they both want to be at the back end of the monstrosity. I loved it when a scene that could easily have turned into an argument takes a strange turn and becomes so much more. And they both sing beautifully (which was impressive because by the end of the scene they had sewn each other’s mouths to the other one’s anus). This was also quite possibly the best use of the James Blunt song, "You're Beautiful" in any show I have ever seen.
The penultimate scene was so simple and touching (beware the double entrendre!) in its premise and execution that I don’t want to give it away. Let’s just say it involved a prop with a hole cut in it and the fate of the entire world is at stake when the dynamic duo have to decide what to put in the hole. This one doesn’t end how you think it will!
The final scene of the night (the show was “cut short” when Geoff literally sliced Nat with a blade) was an office scene where Geoff fires Nat for stealing office supplies. Maybe they were going to do a callback later that involved dick jokes or something, but this one was just a typical scene set in an office with office humor and also at the end you find out that Geoff and Nat are brothers. Meh.
The show ended, appropriately, with a stabbing. This was only right because Crassus had been stabbing the audience in the face with comedy for the previous 12 minutes. These guys know how to be funny and the running themes they explore such as love, status in a relationship and potty humor are right in their wheel house.
Overall, I’m pretty sure it was a great show even though it hasn’t happened yet. I highly recommend it. Check them out tonight (May 11) and next Tuesday (May 18) at Fizz Bar (3220 North Lincoln) at 7:30 p.m.--and it’s FREE!
*Other RvD members Chris Othic and Greg Wendling also have plans to do their own RvD branded one-woman show in the fall.