Goo!/Behind the Mustach | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Goo!/Behind the Mustach 

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Goo! C'Est la Vie Drama Group, at WNEP Theater, and Behind the Mustach, Spoog Records and Oink Productions, at WNEP Theater. Billed as "a theatrical sitcom," Goo! has a Three's Company-esque premise: three recent college grads planning a kegger are caught in the midst of party prep by their landlord (Paul Jensen, whose awkward mannerisms recall Don Knotts). Trying to appease him, Lance and Joey (Dennis Schnell and Jeremy Harrison as hilarious couch potatoes) say that only Justin's ex-girlfriends are coming. The uptight Justin (Marc Lessman echoing Ross of Friends) then must invite the materialistic Christina, the unstable Jessica, and Brittany, the girl he still misses. After this setup for comic misunderstanding, other broad character types (including a gay neighbor, overplayed by Patrick Smith) are brought in to cue Goo!'s laugh track.

Directed by Brian LaDuca, this show is loaded with pop-culture references, borrows heavily from popular sitcoms (a Drew Carey-like dance number to "Saturday Night" is a hit), and features lots of heavy drinking (a ballad to beer is the only original song I'd keep). The characters are purposely shallow, and the dialogue has an artificial ring, but for the most part this silliness works. Still, Goo! outlasts the usual sitcom by an hour, and Once and Again-style moments, such as a heartfelt talk between Brittany and Justin, bring the show to a screeching halt.

Behind the Mustach is a bizarrely entertaining profile of supposed band Lu Belt du Mustach. British import Alastair Templeton (the excellent Seth Fisher) narrates the band's journey in a mix of Masterpiece Theatre, Behind the Music, and VH1's Storytellers. In flashbacks, Davros Mustach (Thomas Zeitner), Staedtler Per Mustach (Noah Ginex), and Fredrik the Stach (Steve Zimmers) perform their off-the-wall ditties.

The show definitely lacks focus. The three actors playing band members and Emily Dugan as the love interest improvise the biographical sketches leading into the songs, but they often intentionally disregard Templeton's directional hints, getting distracted by a spontaneous game of Ping-Pong or the appearance of a pantless Davros. Still, the project is adventurous fun. Even when we're not amused, we're surprised by the cast's audacity.

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