July 9, 2002
For more about Lynn Trenning, please visit her main page.
(aired August 9 on WFAE)|
My second annual review of the The Perch is based on live sketch comedy show 264, one week shy of the eighth anniversary of Charlotte’s only live sketch comedy club. In her introduction, actress Shannon Brice warned the crowd that the night would close with “quite possibly the most offensive song we’ve ever had.” And it did. But not before a talking baby, a corporate dolt, and a couple of crackheads entertained us with slightly less abrasive material.
The Perch has a lot going for it. It’s located above an independent clothing store, near a couple of excellent bars, on the edge of the as-close-to-funky-as-Charlotte-gets neighborhood of Plaza-Midwood. There are three shows a night, one of which is non-smoking, and one that starts at 1 a.m. Add to that a revolving dose of raucous, rancid comic material and the result is a roomful of much younger people than you generally find in a Mecklenburg County theatre.
The informal setting is unlike any other theatre in town. Overstuffed sofas, lounge chairs and coffee tables provide the comfort of a basement rec room. A headless mannequin wearing a party hat and a strobe light are just a few of the interesting atmospheric pieces placed about the room. A parrot on a perch is lowered between sketches, just in case the audience can’t figure it out.
Another strong plus is the band, Dawn Patrol, led by Martin “Flank Steak” Garlitos, who was introduced both as Charlotte’s favorite Filipino, and the John Mellancamp of Human Beings. He is joined by Jeremy “Brisket” Cline on bass, and drummer Mark “Tenderloin” Holt. Dawn Patrol wails its own style of rock and roll riffs reminiscent of Led Zepplin and Deep Purple.
Sketches at The Perch draw from an unsavory reading of current events, excessive drunkenness that leads to unpredictable actions, severe drug addiction, and sex. Basically, all the things you’re not supposed to talk about among polite society. This, of course, is what makes it so much fun.
But I wouldn’t have wanted to be the family of four to my left as they sat through Quay Rogers skit about the size of particular parts of his body. Or during the skit about venereal disease. Or, well, you get my point. But even if the mom in that family wasn’t seduced by The Perch’s flatulence enhancing sound system, she was definitely captivated by the Talking Baby. As a matter of fact, I would have paid the ticket price just to see the Talking Baby, and his little cohort, Tiny Talking Baby. And if you can imagine this, there was also a great skit about a tech support analyst assistant associate in charge of research at First Union National Bank.
In addition to Rogers and Brice, The Perch includes actors Kenneth McCain, Jesse Jones, Brandon Higgins & Sean Keenan. The show did close with one of the most offensive songs I’ve ever heard. It included a Bishop performing the Charleston and was entitled, “In the Clergy.” Add your imagination to the front page of this summer’s Boston newspapers, and you’ll figure out the theme. So, don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Lynn Trenning, July 9, 2002