Dallas — The Dallas Comedy House continues to enhance its sketch program with its latest show, Self-Aware? I Hardly Know Her. Seven women known as One of Us is Carol will perform the show Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Oct. 13. The troupe includes Sallie Bowen, Ashley Bright, Bonnie Criss, Madison Frihart, Emily Gee, Jonda Robinson and Jade Smith.
One of Us is Carol likes to wear wigs and mustaches, riff on current events and bend gender stereotypes. Early on in the troupe’s existence one of the players assumed the persona of “Carol” in every sketch.
The character was always “that person,” according to Ashley Bright. “Just someone unaware of her/his self and surroundings, clumsy, and a general mess of a human being. We wanted to use the name for the group (and not just this first revue) because we continue to write, create video content, and make silly stuff together.”
This show is full of clumsy and silly stuff, as well as a few dabs and, of course, the floss. It is 2018 after all.
Self-Aware? I Hardly Know Her is also full of costume swaps and props and director Maggie Rieth Austin added two stage hands—Emily Baudot and Jill Nastassia—to keep the chaos controlled backstage.
“This cast is full of heavy-hitting character actors, so it was a natural fit to bring in more costuming and props to help bring their vision of the characters to life,” Rieth Austin says. “With everyone in the room yes-anding ideas, we quickly got to a place where you could visibly see these characters. Mustaches on all the men! Wigs on wigs on wigs! A huge musical number with spoon costumes and a gigantic cobbler! This show was the embodiment of ‘yes and’ mindset, which is why it is so wonderfully wacky.”
In one strange scene on a plane, Emily Gee affects a magnificently absurd accent reminiscent maybe of drag queen’s interpretation of a boozy Liza Minnelli. It’s really funny and should get better as the show tightens up after a couple performances.
In another hilarious scene, a few of the ladies gather around doing some needlepoint and talking about their “boys over there fighting the Axis powers.” It gets a little raunchy as “Maxine” explains what is essentially sexting, albeit within a handwritten letter not a text message.
A sketch revolving around career day at a school gets better as it goes along and even funnier after intermission.
Raye Maddox provides technical support for the show. He developed the score and playlist, and “it really sets a unique tone for the show,” Rieth Austin says. “The music and lights add the other dimension that brings all the costumes and acting to life.”
This is evident during one wordless scene that includes music straight outta Keystone Cops or Benny Hill.
Maddox adeptly matches other music to other themes, and the show segues pretty well despite a few longer breaks between scenes because of the various costume changes. Still, that will get tighter and One of Us is Carol does a good job creating a narrative throughout the performance despite the non sequitur nature of sketch revues.