Dallas — Fair Park was a happening place on Friday night. The smell of food and the sound of bands spilled from Taste of Dallas festival, where a steady stream of folks flowed. The Full Moon rose over the Fair Park lagoon, threading its way through the spokes of the giant Texas Star ferris wheel. Inside the Magnolia Lounge, the balcony festively decked out in twinkle lights, laughter reigned for the Big Sexy Weekend of Comedy at the Margo Jones Theatre. Befitting the night’s lunacy, a man dressed as a werewolf, courtesy of a Sexy sponsor, mingled with patrons.
Charming emcee Kyle Bradford whipped up the energy and introduced The Band Wreckers of Dallas, a merrily insane all-female improv ensemble. Using the prompt of “record collection,” a plot quickly unfurled of young (and not so young) love that featured “full body sniffing” and a fairy godmother with business cards. Evidently, it’s hard to get a date when you're a 38-year-old, accordion-playing virgin. “You are the alien conspiracy in my life” is maybe not the most effective pick-up line.
The 30-minute narrative by the Band Wreckers wove a delicious subtheme of hipsters loving the idea of retro, but not the retro itself, and capped with the overall theme of being comfortable with who you are. Well-developed characters, fun quips, great linking of elements and surprising depth, but the location in space of the scenes (inside? outside? house? store?) was often not clear.
Girls Girls Girls of Austin have been spinning musical theater out of nothing for over 15 years. The three members present on Friday possessed a maniacal intensity and vivid imagination. With Austin wild women like this, you never need normal again. Taking the suggestions “castle kitchen” and “walk-in freezer,” they launched into a ballad of frozen food, “Never Expire.”
A story of unrequited love swirled about the Ice Queen and her ice-carving suitor who gave her likeness a nice boob lift. In true Broadway fashion, the narrative built to a climax with the two would-be lovers pining away in song while the third member behind them traversed a near endless spiral staircase, turrets, bridges and more, singing in counterpoint all the way. Cheerful insanity, terrific gags and vivid construction of environments from the 2013 recipients of the B. Iden Payne Award for Excellence in Improvisational Theater.
Capping the night was the Monologue Jam, hosted by Brad McIntire of Audacity Theatre, co-presenter of the weekend. Top area improvisers were offered a suggestion and given three minutes to make something of it. A high bar was set when Patrick Haughton took “pumperdinkle” [sic] and concocted Southern gentlemen dissecting family dynamics over a sunset with mint juleps. Tyler Bryce turned “animals” into a surprise birthday party with 13 sloths and a bear inside a cake. Rory Scholl made the most of the prompt “Unitarian,” even though he’d obviously never been in one of their churches.
Somewhere along the line, yours truly was thrown into the mix, saved only by being given the best suggestion of the night: “when pigs fly.” A tale was spun from my farm days of the difficulty of turtle sex, barn-climbing goats, cow patties with purple mushrooms, and, yes, flying pigs in rainbow colors. As a child of the ‘60s, I’m familiar with porcine aviation.
» Here's a video of a full-length show by Girls Girls Girls: