Review by Kathleen Campion
In journalism, it is a rookie’s mistake to “bury the lead” — essentially, to take the most important piece of your story and put it anywhere after the first graph.
Broad Comedy buries its lead. The very best number — and its very best chance of grabbing its audience — is the finale.
This is an ensemble production with five game performers singing and dancing, mugging and posturing, and working hard to bond with the audience. All five women have good — and some, better than good voices. Each is an actor who moves well, and, again some move better than others. They seem a merry band of players. Their feminist message rings true and fierce; their political message stretches to DACA and homophobia and maternity.
The content is earnest, feminist, topical, and — thin. Outside of the rousing finale, “War on Women,” the strongest pieces are Katie Goodman’s solos on maternity. Goodman, the show’s lead as well as its co-writer and co-director, is genuinely funny with “Peeing a Little,” and genuinely touching with “Mama Mama.” What’s more, each is a great timing change-up in an evening that has too many amateurish, if well-intentioned pieces.
They pull off a hip-hop number with ICE agents (Molly Kelleher, Katie Goodman, Tana Sirois) rapping at a Hamiltonian pace, and an Alice Through-the-Looking-Glass skit about a lesbian couple (Molly Kelleher, Tana Sirois) grossed out by the heteros next door. Generally the songs are better than the skits and much of the sketch comedy feels like fill.
Just before the finale, Goodman steps to the footlights to explain that Broad Comedy is not just the heartfelt review you’ve just seen most of, but it is available for Planned Parenthood fundraisers and corporate bookings and well, all like-minded gatherings though not Tea Party events. She asks that the thin Soho Playhouse audience help out with word of mouth.
This show should thrive on the industrial circuit but it is not meant for a New York audience. That may speak as much to the wealth of polished performance we take for granted as to the rookie quality of much of this material.
For those of us ripe enough to remember, there is a whisper of Cryer and Ford in the songs. They were the feminist balladeers of the 1970s — the last time women noisily demanded equality from a stage. Broad Comedy aspires to that but they are not nearly there yet.
Katie Goodman’s Broad Comedy – Written and directed by Katie Goodman and Soren Kisiel
WITH:Danielle Cohn, Katie Goodman,Molly Kelleher, Tana Sirois, and Carlota Victoria.
Presented by Broad House Productions and The SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandal St in Manhattan.Running time 1 hour 13 minutes with no intermission.