Half an hour before the performance, the O’Connell House was packed, the audience waiting for My Mother’s Fleabag’s Big Show to start at 10 p.m. Even though the doors were closed, there was a line wrapped around the building. Those who did find a seat were beaming with energy and excitement as they waited for the show to start, with many in the crowd there for over an hour by the time the lights dimmed and Fleabag took the stage.
The show opened with a “Special Report from NBC Nightly News.” After tying up Brian Williams (and later killing him), the cast of My Mother’s Fleabag took over the studio. They reported on the “Krisis in Krimea,” hosted a cooking show, and acted out the weather. They even took on Disney’s Frozen, with their film correspondent declaring it was “the best thing to happen to cinema since Citizen Kane.” The sketch included a bogus medical correspondent, as well as a sports reporter who focuses solely on cricket.
The first improv game of the night came in the form of a “Freeze Game.” The game, like many of the other short-form improv games of the night, got very physical-physical and funny are the two best words to sum up the start of the show. The next game the cast played, “the Growing and Shrinking Machine,” started with a fanny pack and evolved into something very elaborate, and like everything else of the night, sat well with its crowd.
Fleabag’s next sketch was about saints in heaven. The premise was that the condos for the saints living in heaven had become overcrowded due to the work of the patron saint of making people patron saints, played by Matt Hession, CSOM ’16. The cast of newly anointed saints ranged from a man hawking Tide-Packets-to-Go (Lou Wilson, A&S ’14) to the patron saint of chauvinism in the workplace (Amanda Hoffman, A&S ’17)-Mother Theresa was shocked and horrified by the new saint elects. The patron saint of making people patron saints even canonized the devil. Unlike Mother Theresa, however, Jesus (Ben Halter, A&S ’16) took no offense and approved all of these new saints.
Following the sketch, the show continued with more improv games. One game, about or inspired by a mop, had the Fleabaggers switching characters with the other actors in the middle of the scene. The next game was a radio station game involving Christian rock, smooth jazz, southern hip-hop, and traffic news. Each host incorporated bugs into his or her broadcast and got laughs.
The Fleabaggers also took on the Oscars with their low-budget, straight-to-DVD trailers for Oscar-nominated films, a recurring sketch that would help with the night’s transitions. Gravitywas the first of many to be lampooned in this recurring segment. Another improv game followed, requiring audience volunteers to finish the lines for the Fleabaggers on stage. Then an Oscar parody of Herbrought down the house with lines like “Scarlet Johansson’s voice is hotter than anyone could possibly be.”
Another audience volunteer was brought into the next game and was asked to finish the performers’ lines. Like many of the improv games, it escalated into a dramatic and hilarious scene-this time, a potential gun battle. Thankfully, the situation was defused, and no actors were visibly hurt in the production.
One of the staples of the Big Show is a game called “185 blanks.” The set-up is that 185 “blanks” walk into a bar, which is followed by a punchline. The first blank on Friday was filled with “boy scouts,” followed by 185 “cigarettes” and finishing with 185 “Kardashians.” The Kardashian jokes left the audience wanting more.
My Mother’s Fleabag took on 12 Years A Slaveby actively not taking it on. The final Oscar parody of the night was followed by another improv game about or inspired by a raccoon. The cast transitioned to a game called “Bing” in which the actors have to change whatever they’re saying or doing when the moderator yells “bing.”
The Fleabaggers also played a game called “Five things in four minutes,” which was an improv version of charades. Suggestions were taken from the crowd, and two actors were required to act out five phrases in four minutes, with another actor guessing. The highlight of Friday’s later performance? “Getting matched with Morgan Freeman on Tinder.”
The final act of the night was “the opera.” The cast of My Mother’s Fleabag took to the stage in boxer shorts and tights, singing ’90s hits adapted to life at Boston College.
Following a show like Friday night’s the line around the door started to make a good bit of sense-My Mother’s Fleabag really is just that good. It was big laughs and big crowds for this semester’s Big Show, and the performance was well worth the wait for a lucky few to get seats in the O’Connell House.