Repeating the lines of a performance during a performance is a major faux pas, don't you agree? But throughout Frankenmatt Present: Pilgrimage, the long-form road trip-inspired improv show brought to Charleston by Frank Caeti and Matt Craig, several audience members, most notably the gentleman with the voice immodulator sitting just in front of me, found approximately 85 percent of the show worthy of repeating in full volume to his neighbor.
Others in the audience, despite Craig's very specific opening request for only the audience's laughs of delight or shrieks of terror, could not help but provide frequent uncalled for contributions to the off-the-cuff dialogue.
Such is the effect of Frankenmatt and, surely, Caeti and Craig are used to it. (Confession: I, too, repeated one particularly hilarious line aloud immediately after it was delivered. I also guffawed the gum out of my mouth twice during the show.)
Caeti and Craig are so comfortable on stage, they softly rock the whole audience into their world and almost force inappropriate reaction/participation, which they then expertly adjust for and seamlessly tie into the action. During car-trip scenes, for example, overzealous audience members were treated as outrageously clairvoyant hitchhikers (how clever!).
The improv duo, both Second City alums with primetime television experience, performed like the seasoned professionals they are. The funny men just let the show come to them, beginning and ending scenes with perfect comedic timing.
The dichotomous duo (Frank is easily 7 feet tall, where as Matt clocks in at around 5'3") never stayed with an idea too long. On Saturday night, they crafted a show in which the perfect amount of time was spent with all the characters they created. Their renditions of gay dinosaurs and pervy senators never felt stale.
It is, however, hard to imagine getting any more from Caeti and Craig. Their all-over-the-place hour-long performance included quite a bit of musical entertainment, thanks to the melodic stylings of Mr. Matt Craig who, at one point, seemed to answer every offer with a song, not to mention dancing, fighting, a chase sequence, and over-the-top journeys into characters' imaginations.
All things considered, pilgrimage is far too sedate a word for the mile-a-minute journey Caeti and Craig take you on. Their long-form improv show goes here, there, and everywhere â hilarity and instant replay included.
Frankenmatt Present: Pilgrimage Piccolo Fringe 1 hour $15 May 25 at 10 p.m., May 26 at 9 p.m., May 27 at 7:30 p.m. Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St., (888) 374-2656