Love Theme From "Molten Hell Hits Happy Valley" | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Love Theme From "Molten Hell Hits Happy Valley"


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Love Theme From "Molten Hell Hits Happy Valley", at Cafe Voltaire.

It's hard to write a good sketch comedy show. First you have to come up with an evening's worth of humorous ideas. Then you have to write a series of funny scenes. Then you have to find actors capable of releasing the script's comedy.

Writer-director Michael Jeffrey Cohen has done none of these things for Love Theme From "Molten Hell Hits Happy Valley", a relentlessly tedious hour-long late-night show. Most of Cohen's premises are pretty lame--one of his strongest bits is a "Beat the Reaper"-like game show called "Sleeping or Dead" in which guests have to decide whether participants from the audience are--well, you get the idea. And the bits that aren't lame are puzzling: in the opening sketch, the actors come out one by one and comment in slow, drawling voices on a herd of horses that first run off to the horizon and then veer to the left.

A few brief flashes of oddball wit light up this evening of comic darkness: Cohen has a gift for bizarre non sequiturs, a gift that comes out in such lines as "Decomposition is not just a city in China," as one character notes out of the blue in an otherwise humorless routine. But thanks to Cohen's comedically impaired cast, even those flashes are dim.

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