"The Soap-pranos" 

comedy review | thru july 26

By the time the ComedySportz crew is finished telling the story of Bony Conseeco, head of the Indianapolis Conseeco crime family, you won"t know your HBOs from your HMOs.
(from left) Chris Bauman, Jon Ridenour, Chad Marshall, Erin Carr, Woody Rau, Mia Lee Roberts, Tracy Parrish, Jon Colby and Gage Vandermeer in "The Soap-pranos"
Director and producer Chris Bauman prides himself on putting on a blue show - the kind of show "where you can say dildo, mother fucker or Republican." Well, breathe deep and puff that chest out, Chris, The Soap-pranos is deep blue and funny as hell. Bauman borrows a page from Quentin Tarantino"s unwritten book on quick cut edits and applies it to a live production. The results are stellar as the action unfolds rapidly and the scenes never bog down by going to long. Poor Bony is trying to deflect the FBI, locate his best buddy Big Chubbie - a made man many expect may have made off after ratting the goods to the feds - and work through some personal issues with his psychiatrist (seems his celery wont get "crisp" anymore). At home, his wife Vageena - the perfect example of why you shouldn"t let your mafia wife watch too much Oprah or Martha Stewart - is neurotically fixated on planning their daughter Amaretto"s graduation party and ensuring that she gets into an Ivy League college, like Ivy Tech. Oh, and Bony"s mother Labia and Uncle Pesto have hired the gay mafia to off him. The performances are a mixed bag, but it works because the sum is greater than its parts. Peter Dunn"s understated delivery as Labia, Bony"s outrageously vindictive mother, was a howl. Whether at the center of the action or on the periphery, Dunn was the funniest part of any scene he appeared in. Gage Vandermeer gets some good laughs as Puccini Pannini - the perfect Italian name for Bony"s Russian mistress, right? The only problem is, most of them were her own as she chuckled her way through most of her best lines. The normally funny Woody Rau is complacent as Bony Conseeco, moving the action along but never generating a laugh. Bony is at the hub of the action throughout, but the star of the show is never more than a neutral player. Mia Lee Roberts is hilarious as Vageena Conseeco, the perfect mafia soccer mom. When Vageena isn"t busy receiving signs from God, or the planets, she"s baking mostacolli, the perfect Italian antidote to any calamity. Go ahead and leave this one in the oven, Vageena. The Soap-pranos is laughing too hard to stop and eat. The Soap-pranos is performed each Friday at 10 p.m. through July 26, and each episode picks up where the last one left off. Check the Arts Clips weekly for summaries and updates. Call 951-8499 for reservations.

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