Los Angeles Theater Preview: GROUNDLINGS RED LIGHT DISTRICT (The Groundlings Theatre)

Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: GROUNDLINGS RED LIGHT DISTRICT (The Groundlings Theatre)

by Frank Arthur on July 29, 2015

in Theater-Los Angeles


Groundlings Red Light District 4For almost 40 years, The Groundlings has proved itself to be one of the premiere comedy troupes in the nation, creating more stars than the Big Bang. Performers showcase material that arises from improvisation workshops; their weekly shows range from all-improv to all-sketches and anywhere in-between. The current sketch comedy offering from The Groundlings Main Company, which opens this week, is Groundlings Red Light District.

Director Karen Maruyama leads an evening of all-new sketches and a few improvisational scenes starring Groundlings Lauren Burns, Mikey Day, Allison Dunbar, Andrew Friedman, Ryan Gaul, Kevin Kirkpatrick, and Michael Naughton. Just watching a Groundlings show should be a prerequisite for any actor; I have seen each of these performers, and they all demonstrate nuance, invention, authenticity and commitment to choice—even when portraying their creations as expansive caricatures. (A “Groundling” is one of the 30 company members who write and perform in the theatre’s shows and teach classes at the Groundling’s School.)

Groundlings Red Light District 7 For those who have never been, the two-act laugh-fest is in an intimate theater on Melrose where the energy is always a tonic for what ails ya; Willie Etra’s rockin’ three-piece band sits below the stage, playing during quick-paced scene changes or for musical scenes. The title has absolutely nothing to do with the show; certainly skits are topical but there is rarely a through-line. If one scene lags or isn’t to your liking, another one that will—no exaggeration—make you ache with laughter is right around the corner (which reminds me of my own trip to the real Red Light District in Amsterdam, but that’s another story). For a nominal ticket price (20 bucks) you will not only find yourself supremely entertained, but it may be the cheapest acting class you have ever attended.

Groundlings Red Light District 5

Groundlings Red Light District 3 Groundlings Red Light District 2 Groundlings Red Light District 1Groundlings Red Light District 6photos courtesy of The Groundlings

Groundlings Red Light District
Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave
Fri at 8; Sat at 8 & 10
ends on September 26, 2015
for tickets ($20), call 323.934.4747
or visit www.groundlings.com

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