Review: A party in search of a purpose

  • Article by: KRISTIN TILLOTSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 24, 2013 - 5:59 PM

The idea behind “The Ultimate Pajama Party,” an interactive variety show getting a test run at the Lab Theater through Feb. 10, seems simple enough, but its execution proves anything but.

The cast plays a group of middle-aged gal pals (plus token gay man and four “cabana boys”) who involve their audience of same in onstage shenanigans and confessions, in between performing skits and songs, with a disco-dance party finale. The setting is a giant, mod living room, complete with appetizers, a (cash) tiki bar and a bed with hats, wigs and other props for photo-taking fun.

The shtick: Everyone wears pajamas, to give the event a conspiratorial, girls-only, relaxed feeling. The attitude is anything goes, and it does, to a fault. It often seemed that the stage was the last place the nightie-sporting partiers were looking, between texting, chatting and cocktail-refreshing.

Some genuinely funny bits include a “Fifty Shades of Grey” skit performed with sock puppets and a psychic who goes through the purse of a victim plucked from the crowd. But many cultural references were dated; name-checking Helen “I Am Woman” Reddy in 2013 is particularly wince-worthy, even for a target demo of a certain age. Others played into stereotypes, like a 50-yard Kar-DASH-ian race, with shopping bags.

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