Conceived by Nannette Deasy
Reviewed by Robert Viagas
The Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble opened its 2019 season Off-Off-Broadway with a new show, Tammy’s Bachelorette, which aspires to be the latest in the semi-scripted, largely improvised, mock ethnic-family event, audience-immersive shows in the style of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding and Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral.
The company has some work to do.
Tammy’s Bachelorette introduces Nannette Deasy (also credited as conceiver of the show) as working-class New Jersey girl Tammy, who is engaged to one man while secretly still carrying a torch for another. Her sister Becky (Claire Kraus) is the sexy (and tipsy) maid of honor who has organized the whole event featuring a meddlesome bridesmaid (Izzy Church), a not-very-helpful waitress (Evie Aronson), plus the groom (in disguise), the groom’s disapproving mom, and a dubious male stripper. The audience is sometimes called upon to participate in the roles of guests and friends who call out suggestions for the improvisational segments that are performed in the party framework.
On the performance caught, the cast seemed at a loss when trying to improvise such target-rich scenarios as why the bachelorette and her intended would wind up in a bathroom together, or when the waitress became upset that she was working at an event where she felt she should have been a guest. Considering that there were only eight members of the cast, several were given very little to do.
The cast was at its best when riffing on characters suggested by the audience taking part in a naughty party version of “The Dating Game.”
David Jay played the sepulchral male stripper as a lounge singer equivalent of Florence Foster Jenkins. It wasn’t clear why a bachelorette party stripper would do so much singing and so little actual stripping, but, small blessings. He was actually more scary than funny.
Directed by Randy Baumgardner, Tammy’s Bachelorette ran through March 16 at The Producers Club on West 44th Street in Manhattan, where its season will continue with other improv shows in the coming months.