Comedy revue 'Snowplow Named Desire' opens at Brave New Workshop

  • Article by: ROHAN PRESTON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 3:03 PM

REVIEW: The Brave New Workshop plows shopworn terrain with sidesplitting gusto in its latest comedy revue.

Taj Ruler and Tom Reed in “A Snowplow Named Desire: Love in Minnesota” at Brave New Workshop.

Photo: Brave New Workshop,

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Not only has the Brave New Workshop coined one of its cleverest titles for its latest comedy revue. The 283rd show also is one of the sketch comedy troupe’s funniest.

I laughed so much at “A Snowplow Named Desire,” which opened Thursday in downtown Minneapolis, that my jaws hurt.

In all-new sketches that feature some adult language and situations, the seven-member ensemble plows the old terrain of romance with sidesplitting gusto. They sing a lot. They prance. They do a penguin-like two-step.

In all of it, they keep us laughing at the foibles and faux pas around love, relationships and sex.

The sketches include “The Joy of Baking,” which uses pie-making as a metaphor for, well, sex. Taj Ruler gives instructions to Tom Reed as he stirs a rather small spatula in a bowl. The innuendo is thicker than, well, hot oil.

The skits also include “Never Move On,” about couples having a discussion on what should happen relationship-wise when one partner dies. It’s cold stuff.

“Penguins” is about the grass being greener on the other side. In this case, mama emperor penguin (winning newcomer Melanie Wehrmacher) has grown tired of her partner (Reed) and hatchling (Ruler). She is tired of regurgitating food into the mouths of her offspring and partner. She wants to get to know that mysterious and hot Sea Lion on the other side (Andy Hilbrands). But that hungry sea lion may be looking for more than love.

The tony suburb of Edina takes it on the chin with “The Innuendo Song,” a piece about relatively chaste suggestive foreplay that an uptight couple find stimulating.

The really great thing about “Snowplow” is that all seven ensemble members shine. Bobby Gardner has matured into a confident singing comic. He, like his colleagues, is totally in the comic moment. Gardner is a stitch as a ribald, truth-telling octogenarian in a wheelchair who wants to divorce his old wife.

Lauren Anderson makes no false moves. And Matt Erkel, who plays the Russian father of gynecology (“Are you there, God? It’s me, Nikolai Gynecolovich”), shows that he’s a comic master.

“Snowplow,” with musical accompaniment by Peter Guertin, proves that “Saturday Night Live” has nothing on the Brave New Workshop.

As founder Dudley Riggs was leaving the theater, he was rightly pleased. “They’ve done me proud,” he said.

Yes, indeed.

 

Rohan Preston • 612-673-4390

 

  • A Snowplow named desire

    Who: Created by the Brave New Workshop ensemble. Directed by Caleb McEwen and Katy McEwen.

    When: 7:30 p.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri., 5 & 8 p.m. Sat. Ends April 4.

    Where: 824 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

    Tickets: $10-$36. 612-332-6620 or www.bravenewworkshop.com.

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