To the strains of “Makin’ Whoopie,” the Impact Briefs 8: Sinfully Delicious ensemble (Steve Budd, Elissa Dunn, Leon Goertzen, Jon Lutz and Monica Coretes Viharo) hits the stage with a round-robin confession, disguised as a survey: The Last Sinful Thing You’ve Done—ran over a frog, poked a badger with a spoon, talked to my ex under an assumed name, shoplifted an onion, mooned the Pope, touched myself and thought of Prince Gomovilas, had a secret orgasm onstage (“Just now?”) ... and the humor gets equally bad in proportion to the sins.
But Bad is Good at impact, at least “in Brief”—brief also meaning the scanty attire of the four burlesque dancers (Jessica Kiely, Helen Nesteruk, Monica Santiago and Rachel Throesch) who punctuate the sketches with high-spirited, oldtime risqué’ dance numbers, whether as sailors or nuns in high heels, sometimes vaguely Busby Berkeleyish, in Helen Nesteruk’s choreography.
The sketches range all over, though the theme seems to be pushing the envelope. There’s the jilted high school sweetheart who calls “1-800-SUICIDE,” cinched up with her ex’s necktie, ready to end it all—only to be asked out by the “older guy” who answers her plea for help. Or the poor jerk who gets off at the wrong underground stop, only to find himself trapped, still living, in a downsizing corporate Hell (“Haven’t had a Divine Comedy [code name for a live one] in centuries!”)—followed by the burlesque dancers in a catfight betwixt angels and devils.
The most successful—and audibly appreciated—sketch features a wife’s dismay at her husband bringing home a dead clown. There’s time for a door prize for survey completions, though the prize turns out to be another bad gag: a condom, chocolate kisses and chocolate coffee beans ... “Are you of age, Joseph?” the winner is queried.
Below LaVal’s Northside pizzeria, and offering student discounts to an already reasonable price, the audience is made up in great part of students and younger spectators. But last Friday, a good percentage were middle-aged and older—some obviously repeat customers, to judge by the Impact T-shirts.
The show’s staged briskly enough, by Dawn Monique Williams, yet the performers have the opportunity to be personable. All-in-all, Impact serves up what they promise—and, as they note, “Nowhere else in the Bay Area can you eat pizza and drink beer while you’re watching a play.” Equity companies note: the gauntlet is down.
Impact Briefs 8: Sinfully Delicious
La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid Ave.