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  • Writer's pictureDelven Shaw

CIRCLE JERK is whip-smart fun

I am in the generation that made trips to New York from the Heartland to experience in tiny theaters the comedies of Charles Ludlum and Charles Busch. The shows were whip-smart, sexy, topical, and jam-packed. Whether dealing with themes from classic plays or films, or writing new work that would become classics for subsequent generations, (The Mystery of Irma Vep in 1984 for Ludlum) and Pyscho Beach Party (1987) for Busch), they were the anchors for New York’s once thriving Off Off Broadway scene.

Now, Fake Friends, is bringing similar smarts, laughs and slutty fun, but instead of playing to 50 people in a basement theater, they are reaching the world with their live video streamed performance CIRCLE JERK, a direct descendant of the Busch and Ludlum styles.

The thin plot is a yarn about a trip four men take to Gaymen Island, and their loves and losses there. But having a rational plot is not why we are watching. Instead we wonder at a brilliant team of comic actors exploring new technologies while they trash current trends of cancel culture and lead the way on what can happen with digital theater.

References to Broadway shows fly by faster than you can lick an ice cream. Not all the physical comedy works as well on screen as it would if you were seeing it IRL. Fake Friends might test the vocal volume needed to be captured on camera as sections were shrill for my taste. But the players are a strong team as they wrapped up the very energetic evening.

Did I get all the jokes? No way. Could I understand all the satire? Perhaps. But most importantly, did I have a good time? You bet.

I cannot wait to see what Fake Friends - led by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley – does next.

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