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THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Special Comedy Issue by Rich Mintzer
"Electric Companies" Lester McFwap is one of the most promising up-and-coming troupes, Lester McFwap, is an L.A.-based group who now calls Hollywood, its home base. Formed five years ago, the troupe has won the Caroline's Sketch-Off Competition in New York. The well-educated, Monty Python-influenced quintet offers a more cerebral approach, bucking the improv-based norm with carefully scripted routines that move beyond the day's news.----------------------------------
LESTER McFWAP..S INNUENDO & OUT THE OTHER Lurking behind an ungainly moniker, the sketch comedy troupe Lester McFwap reveals itself as surreal, intelligent and very funny. The group is described in its press material as Monty Python influenced, and at least one piece, Thomas Konkle..s erudite "Astronomer..s Cup Final" the recap of a race wherein famous stargazers perform according to their theories is a striking re-creation of the Python vibe, which demonstrates itself mainly in the strength of the writing. The majority of the other sketches written by Lindsay are admirably diverse. "Leakey About the Eyes" features Lindsay and Mary Magara as scientific researchers who..ve fallen in lust with their test subjects, a dolphin and an orangutan, respectively. "Airline Food" is mordantly hilarious, with Konkle and Lindsay as airline pilots informing their in-flight passengers just how things are going to be after the world has just been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. Konkle is particularly fine here as the captain, saying outrageous things over the intercom, midflight, in the recognizably silky tones that come from the cockpit. Magara is bitingly funny in "L..Attitude," as the superheroine Frenchwoman, whose dual powers are seduction and mockery. Gino C. Vianelli..s "Disarming Statements" is also quite effective, with a demolitions expert attempting to defuse a bomb but distracted by his co-worker coming on to him. Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; (Terry Morgan) LA WEEKLY
LA WEEKLY's COMEDY PICK OF THE WEEK
McFwap does Beyond the Fringe: An Evening Without Peter Cook (click to hear show)
"...performing this stylized, absurdist material can only come from a labor of love and the cast executes it flawlessly. If you close your eyes you
can feel the comic rhythms of Cook, Moore, and Monty Python." - Tom Frykman LA Weekly.
"...a brilliantly realized and surprisingly bittersweet tribute to the
father of modern satire...Dunn and Konkle in particular capture Cook's halting cadences and demented personas to perfection......Joe Dunn is a terrific stage presence, clearly confident and assured in his style, incorporating a range of subtle character moments and deranged touches...
"...Tom Konkle must be the American love child of John Cleese and Michael Palin, an instantly funny presence on stage......Michael Lindsay is a forceful comic whose quick wit and characterizations were perfectly realized throughout the show....David Beeler is a wonderful comic actor both as straight man and comic foil he is often Dudley Moore incarnate..."
""Gino C. Vianelli, a wonderfully dry comic whose modulated voice and physical comedy prowess provides a sounding board for any absurd concept in all the sketches. A comic of surprising range and a very unique presence..." - New Times, Los Angeles
"Stephanie Stearns lights up the stage and she deliciously brings to life the characters in every sketch. She is a perfect fit for McFwap and an amazing actress...."
New Times, LA
Backstage West review Brad Schreiber
LESTER MCFWAP'S INNUENDO AND OUT THE OTHER
What makes the comedy sketch troupe Lester McFwap unique is that its members are willing to dazzle you with intelligence one minute and talk about cannibalizing babies the next. While this may make for an uneven flow of material, the high points are indeed as dizzying and outlandish as one can find in sketch comedy. Take, for example, the aforementioned flesh-eating, part of a running gag about pilots of a commercial airliner who have just witnessed the nuclear immolation of the earth. The deadpan Thomas Konkle, as the pilot, announces to the passengers that he and his co-pilot will henceforth rule over those aboard, incorporating sexual mores "loosely based on West Virginia mountain law."
Konkle and the impish Michael Lindsay are responsible for the best of the evening's writing, and when they incorporate both their love of Monty Python-esque humor and literary interests, the result is delightful and invigorating. In "Cthulhu for You and You," Lindsay plays horror author H.P. Lovecraft, describing the "unspeakable perfidy" of the creature which attacked him, as police sketch artist Gino Vianelli disgustedly determines it was merely a frog. Recalling Python's work strongly is the marvelous "Astronomer's Cup Final," in which the previous three yuksters and Tom Mills cover a live sporting event which includes Copernicus running around in circles.
McFwap deserves nods for inventiveness, especially in creating a diner called Mamet's in which waitress Mary Magara snaps off plenty of truncated, foul-mouthed bursts in the style of the playwright-turned-director/screenwriter. .....the sky is the limit for this talented bunch. This reviewer has never found flatulence very funny, until seeing McFwap's Shakespearean riff "Who Pooteth?," in which the characters, in rhyming couplets, pass the buck on who passed the gas.
Monty Python "Owl-Stretching Time" Lost Python Sketches Show at Santa Monica Playhouse in 2001
Lester McFwap's Fear! at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Fear!
Look for David Beeler and Tom Konkle in Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's "Good Evening" as well as Tom and David's original play "Good Night: A Sketchy Play" directed by Mike Neill available for touring and booking. Stephanie Stearns is starring with Tom Konkle in the comedy movie "Seatfillers." Gino C. Vianelli and Tom Konkle continue to write together on the Sturm and Drang sketches as well as others coming soon including several comedy films. "Double Act" with Dave and Tom opened successfully at Santa Monica Playhouse and soon Sept 15 2006 comes Dave and Tom's A tribute To Dave and Tom a new licve comedy show