We’ve all been there—the post-show discussion that goes on for too long or goes nowhere at all. We’re all in need of the toilet and/or a stiff drink, please stop holding forth about your artistic process. And no, there are not “any more questions?” In The Post Show, The Berserker Residents, (Brad Wrenn, Justin Jain, and Dave Johnson), have created an enjoyable parody of an earnestly pretentious post-show discussion. The trio show off some excellent, quick-witted improv skills as they rely on audience suggestions for clues as to what exactly happened in the show we’re discussing. However, The Post-Show’s simple premise leaves them out of material very quickly, forcing them to resort to less-than-stellar prepared sketch bits.
Justin Jain’s ‘attentively listening to criticism and nodding’ face is a thing of beauty
The first quarter of the show is true theatre for theatre people, and it’s worth attending for this alone. We begin at the ending of ‘Prodigal Father,’ a six hour long drama by ‘Shallow Scream Theatre Collective,’ created through what they call “actor devised creation methodology.” The Residents have clearly attended some post-shows in their time. Their aping of Serious Actor and Emerging Young Artist mannerisms is spot-on, right down to the water-gulping and sweat-mopping. Justin Jain’s ‘attentively listening to criticism and nodding’ face is a thing of beauty. All three are adept at incorporating audience suggestions into the plot of ‘Prodigal Father’ and they effortlessly keep the clever responses coming while remaining deadly serious about their “devised piece of cutting-edge theatre.”
Unfortunately, they need a bit more to work with for an hour-long show, and they know it. After the question and answer session starts to wear thin, the show devolves into a mixed-bag of prepared sketches. These bits don’t retain the spark and spontaneity of the opening and without a direct target for satire the Berserkers resort to bringing in a series of wacky props and sight gags in an effort to keep things moving. This works for a bit, but ultimately loses pace and direction. Perhaps if the Residents recreated more scenes of ‘The Prodigal Father’ based on audience suggestions, showing off their truly admirable improv skills, the laughs would keep coming as quickly as they did in the first 15 minutes.
Despite this dip in energy, The Post Show boasts some clever satire and is worth seeing for anyone who’s sat through a numbing Q&A after the house lights go up.
I’m not sure if I’d want to attend one of Shallow Scream’s marathon “collaborative collective works,” but the Berserker Residents are ones to watch.