Fluke and Maximum Party Zone Are Go!, ImprovOlympic. Prop comedy may be single-handedly responsible for the decline of Western civilization. It's certainly the bane of sketch comedy, where it shifts focus away from genuine human connection toward funny hats and gorilla suits. Maximum Party Zone--Bill Arnett, Danny Mora, and Bobby Mort of the ImprovOlympic house team People of Earth--takes prop comedy to dangerously toxic levels in its latest revue. Maximum Party Zone Are Go! opens with a hilariously campy video homage to the old Thunderbirds sci-fi series, but the bit grinds to a halt as the three performers wrestle with their Day-Glo jumpsuits onstage. Whenever the trio gets beyond simple sight gags there's a wicked undercurrent of dark, self-flagellating humor. But a shoebox-size fart machine of their own design takes up so much time it ought to be credited as a member of the troupe.
Ed Dassie and Jay Sukow in their two-man revue Fluke get a fair bit of mileage from changing costumes every other scene. But what unfolds onstage is disappointingly slick and literal: a jailhouse confession is played as melodrama, and a weight lifting scene becomes an excuse to prance around in stuffed Speedos. Like the show that precedes it, Fluke features capable performers slacking off in so-so material, taking the kind of wrongheaded approach that ought to be greeted by a booming thunderclap from the eerily prescient fart machine.