Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight
(Central Square, Cambridge) DIANA! was marketed as an all-women musical to be performed by a cast of passionate comediennes who celebrate imperfection, and this was the only preparation patrons were provided, because that’s how it goes in the improv comedy circuit. Late night audiences show up, some degree of inebriated and half-heartedly hoping our performers are capable of spontaneously spurning out sunny slapstick satire. The cast of DIANA! had their assignment – to parody imperfection – and they did a terribly terrific job of mocking classy “classic people” and laughing at highbrow literature.
In the midst of this cast’s contempt of perfection and its paragons, there was one comedienne who sang in defense of society’s timeless tomes, and her solemn song went this way: “There’s gonna be an apocalypse. (pause) And books are gonna survive! (dramatic pause plus scowl) You guys got something to say for yourself?” It was funny, and it was also Cantabrigian. When I see a comedy show in Cambridge, I am struck by how cerebral and regional it is. Would comediennes in Los Angeles ad lib tales of traffic and how La La Land was a great film? I pondered that, critically with Cantabrigian earnestness.
Until one of the comediennes French kissed the air again, which was not funny for the umpteenth time, and that’s when I felt how I was too old for this show. Pew Research Center may place me within the age range of millennials [1981 to 1996], but I’ve resonated more with … well, with the Boomers [1946 to 1964] who can be slightly serious goal-centric perfectionists. When this performer sloppily open-mouth kissed the audience again, the voice in my head instinctively implored “Oh no. Please stop that, dearie.”
I know clubs tend to be safe space to gestate a comic’s talent, so I am trusting that at sometime in the future this comedienne will develop new routine bits that have nothing to do with her mouth. In this process of gestation, I’ve observed the performers in Cambridge’s ImprovBoston to typically be in the first phases of their formation toward comfortable, experienced, funny comics. If you live in the Central Square area, and if you are awake at 10pm with friends and nothing else to do, I might recommend that you saunter over to ImprovBoston for a late sketch comedy show. But I would not expect anything at the advanced Laugh Comedy level; expect a performance on the more nascent-newbie end of the spectrum.