Cows Gone Wild
nytheatre.com review by Alexander Zalben
August 15, 2004
Bitches Funny, a bi-coastal comedy group, is bringing their slick, LA-style sketch comedy to FringeNYC, with pretty positive results.
The show, called Cows Gone Wild, is really just a series of unrelated sketches, with occasionally punny cow bits thrown in for connective fiber. In between, we get a few well choreographed dance numbers, riffs on everything from anorexia to the origin of the phrase “fork in the road,” and, as promised by the shows tagline, just a little bit of T&A.
So how does this all mesh together? Generally, okay. Of the few sketch groups I’ve seen from LA, all seem to have a large focus on props and costumes, as well as slick production values. Which is a refreshing change from NYC sketch, actually, because even as a practitioner of the form, I get tired of the “cardboard boxes for costumes” most of us can afford.
Besides some pretty costumes, the BF’s give us a lot of SNL/MadTV-ready celebrity impersonations, and easily digestible ideas spewed out in two- to three-minute bits. While not every idea works very well, and some of them fall down flat, there’s enough good, smart writing, and savvy turns of phrase to make the Bitches Funny group worth checking out.
I particularly enjoyed a sketch combining kiddie pageants and the repugnant TV show The Swan, which is the closest the group comes to making some honest commentary. And the aforementioned “Fork in the Road sketch” combines great costumes, a strong idea, and sharp writing, though it does end a little abruptly.
More importantly, how are the… umm… Bitches, themselves? Pretty damn good. All five members of the group are multi-talented performers, easily at home with character acting, dancing, or belting out a Reba McEntire tune.
Of particular note is Eileen O’Connell. Recently added to the cast, she manages to turn in a star-worthy and hilarious performance. Whether performing as a straight man in most of her scenes, a woozy Anna Nicole-Smith, or even as herself, almost every line Ms. O’Connell says gets a huge laugh from the audience. And a side-splitting monologue she performs, offering to do anything to get a deal with any industry folks in the audience, should hopefully convince one of said industry folks to pick her up right away.