Arts & Culture » Comedy Critic's Choice

Hitch-Cocktails makes for a good (tanked) evening

Improvisers build an Alfred Hitchcock-style thriller in their own special way—alcohol included.



The Annoyance Theatre's new location features more theaters, a kitchen, a larger bar, and, in the case of Hitch-Cocktails, an onstage wet bar. The completely improvised show features six performers who create a Hitchcock-style two-act thriller on the spot, all while getting obliterated. If anyone in a scene is offered a drink, he or she must take it and finish it before the scene is over. The menu for the show I attended included red wine, rum and Coke, and vodka soda—each audience-tested to ensure alcoholic strength—and what started as sips from friendly pours became hard chugs from pint glasses by the time the lights began fading.

After asking the audience to suggest an irrational fear—in this case, fear of mirrors—the players presented "Forced Perspective," set in a fun house and predictably more of a comedy than a thriller. It became obvious just how new the theater was when the few performers who leaned up against the back of the stage walked away with fresh drywall stains on their clothes. Still, the show was executed with the expertise of a group of old pros. Though almost too drunk to stand, the cast members were able to play multiple murderous carnival characters, tie up loose ends presented during the show's opening, and get in some pretty solid mirror-reflection gags a la the Marx Brothers.

In one of the night's funniest moments, the tipsiest performer recounted almost every detail from the previous scenes before declaring "I'm so drunk!" and proceeding to lie down on the stage. Lucky for him, it was the show's final scene. Hitch-Cocktails is a positive glimpse of what's to come at the new venue, so long as no one keels over from alcohol poisoning.

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