Back at it again with their semester show, sketch comedy group Boris’ Kitchen most definitely exceeded the high expectations of audience members as they enthralled us with “The Greatest Story Ever Mold,” a recurring theme that reflected their ongoing strife with the Department of Community Living (DCL) in regard to the group’s prop closet. The show was co-directed by Yaznil Baez ’16 and Jason Kasman ’16.
In the style of sketch-comedy frontrunner “Saturday Night Live,” the show opened with a politically themed short, starring Ben Astrachan ’19 as “Sparky the Birthday Clown with the Sledgehammer,” who undoubtedly reflected presidential candidate Donald Trump, and Sarah Duffett ’17 as the reasonable Clinton-esque opponent. The sketch was humorous, but just as impressive were the well-placed questions of the cast members in the audience and the ability of the actors to so fittingly represent the nuances of each political persona. Not only was this political satire at its finest, but it set the mood for the night’s performance, as there were a great deal of contemporary political undertones in the sketches to follow, such as Jason Kasman ’16 with his witty performance as Senator Bernie Sanders.
Perhaps one of the most stand-out performers of the night was Deesha Patel ’16 with her many performances as a burlesque chair-dancer, chronic smoker and most notably as a neglected child named “Jimmy,” whose grim outlook on life garnered waves of laughter throughout the audience. From his personal anecdotes of his mother’s indifference to his recount of eating his only friend (Michael Bublé), Patel’s character left few unsmiling faces in the audience.
Surely not to be outshone was Ayelet Schrek ’17, who played a significant role in the overwhelming majority of the sketches and whose intense energy brought to the stage an excitement not unlike that of current SNL cast member Kate McKinnon. Schrek’s most defining role was as the “tepid, mushy bucket of oatmeal” starring in the show finale, “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” which re-featured characters from the previous sketches. However, her shining moment was her enthusiastic devouring of “The Chunk,” “a really big slab of raw, tender meat, served in a pool of warm blood with no silverware.” Though the prop was soon realized to be a large piece of watermelon, the initial shock value as Schrek dug in was horrifying – in a good way.
Though all sketches were knee-slappers, perhaps the most entertaining part of the night was the final scene of the first act, where the cast members acted as themselves and gave a curt yet extensive history on the group’s prop closet arrangements and its recent outbreak of mold, the namesake of the show. After being relocated “out of the Castle, down the stairs, across the ICC bridge, into Hassenfeld and to the first door on the right,” the group’s belongings remained relatively secure, until the fateful day on March 7, 2016, when DCL Director Tim Touchette contacted the group to inform them that a considerable amount of their props were to be discarded without reimbursement due to the severe infestation of mold. In a real-life plot twist, it was discovered that the group’s property had not been thrown away, but was rather still sitting in what was described as a bio-hazard by the DCL themselves, and in which the cast worked for four hours, only able to salvage about half of their belongings.
From start to finish, it was entirely evident that there was an enormous amount of work that went into this production. Every little detail about the show was on point, from the set, to the smooth background music of the band, to the ever-hilarious program (whose absurd writings are undeniably my favorite part of Boris’ Kitchen performances). Their effective use of comedy to confront nationwide issues and to tackle injustice as it occurs on campus is astonishing and adds to their appeal, which is in no way lacking solely based on their already priceless sketch content.