Turn Off the TV and Head to The Game Show

Answer: Short, sweet and simple. Question: What is The Game Show?

Sunday September 09, 07
by Tricia Danflous, StageClick.com

Actor’s Theatre of New Orleans’ original production, The Game Show, written and directed by René J. F. Piazza, will make you smile at the very least. And it’s a safe bet that you’ll leave the small theatre humming tunes from your favorite television game shows.

This delightful presentation is just that – pleasant, entertaining, a refreshing way to generate a few grins, groans and hearty laughs. Filled with puns, jokes; peppered with challenging and not-too-challenging game show questions and scenarios, The Game Show offers up no earth-shattering dialogue nor deep-rooted messages. If you’re looking for pure entertainment, this is the show for you.

Remember those pretend game shows you may have produced or seen during a high school or camp talent show? Game show take offs on Saturday Night Live or Mad TV? That’s The Game Show – a step or more up from your teenage years and less vulgar than late night television. The results are the same – lots of laughs from old jokes, predictable puns and the every-now-and-then glimpse into individual response to competition.

Piazza centers the script on three “lucky” duos – a gay couple, defined as two friends, a middle class husband and wife from middle America, and an uptown New Orleans couple. Selected to play “I Didn’t Know That,” a game show consisting of diverse rounds reflecting all your favorites from the past – Pyramid, Password, Name That Tune and The Newlywed Game, for example – the contestants vie for points amidst volumes of applause for themselves and their opponents. Friendly competition lasts only so long, however. As the show goes on, the audience sees more and more of the contestants’ personalities and behavioral quirks. Composite game show host Biff Winkerman and Vanna-like hostess Trudy Thimble are on-hand as well with never-ending smiles and buckets of puns.

Cast members Brian Collins, Lisa Scardino, Warren Usey, Kevin Songy, Jessi Norton, Matthew Carroll, Anysia Manthos and Robert Facio are well suited for their respective roles, clearly enunciating and delivering their punch lines in good timing. No one steals or detracts from this show, but Collins’ presentation of game show host Winkerman is especially fun to watch. Even when your eyes directed to the contestants’ antics and answers, Collins not only maintains character to the max, but also shows how much fun he is having.

Take a long commercial break – go see The Game Show.

Back Row Facts

Length of Show – Just over 90 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.

Language and Lewd factor – no bad language; lots of double entendre puns.

Family Fitness – fun for all. You may need to fend off a youngster’s questions about two guys kissing (they don’t do it, just talk about it for a few seconds and not really in sexual context), so prepare in advance. This is not a reason to stay home or to leave the kids at home.

It’s a puzzlement! What makes the theme songs from game shows so entertaining and so hard to get out of your head?