Review: History of the Future at Hole in the Wall Theatre

by Brennah Dallaire

Do you like cookies? The members of Hartford’s comedy group History of the Future definitely do. Cookies were the topic of the sketch and improvised comedy routines the group put on at New Britain’s Hole in the Wall Theater last Saturday.
Hole in the Wall Theater bears similarities t

o dimly-lit coffee shops riddled with hipsters on their MacBooks writing novels or photo-shopping their artsy photos; but not as cliché.

The theater is cozy and filled with people in a good mood and excited for some alternate entertainment. Hole in the Wall is located on Main Street in downtown New Britain across from the police station.

It’s a smaller theater, where guests can get comfortable and everyone gets a great view of the stage. The theater, although small, is equipped with all of the lighting, sound equipment and set space needed to put on professional show.

Hole in the Wall offers a concession stand in the lobby where you can purchase baked goods and beverages including Avery’s Soda, a local brand.

This is History of the Future’s introduction to the Hole in the Wall theater. Long-form improvised comedy is their specialty. The comedy troupe typically performs at the Sea Tea Comedy Theater in Hartford, but strays to perform at special events and festivals. With the help of Hole in the Wall Theater Board President Mary Roane, the comedy group ended up performing there for a three week-stint.
The first act of the show was a typical sketch comedy where cast members Kevin Sullivan, Kevin Panko, Ed Richters, Sarah Babski, Sean Morrissey and Crystal Bezzini performed 12 five-minute skits.

Some stories felt as if they were trying too hard, but others, like “Blackmail Brownie,” were completely on point. Tammy the Girl Scout was selling cookies outside the grocery store. When her usual customers declined to purchase cookies, she would blackmail them with their secrets. Mr. Gorley had salami nipples and showed them off at the beach (there was photo evidence) and Ms. Turner wore cheap K-Mart brand jeans that made her butt look weird.

“Biscuit Beast’s Lament” was another hysterical skit about a Cookie Monster look-a-like named “Biscuit Beast,” who was in the process of being sued for putting on public shows while eating and singing about cookies.

“Inspired Dishes” was a spoof on the Food Network show, “Chopped.” Contests told sappy stories about how they created gourmet dishes of macaroni and cheese. One judge said it needed ketchup as he proceeded to take it from his pocket and squirt it into the dish. The contestant responded, “Thank you, chef,” and proceeded to cry into another judges arms because the dish was inspired by the father her son never met.

The plots of these skits were unhinged and the comedians were extremely dedicated to the characters and stories.  What came after intermission was a new kind of comedy.

“History of the Future Makes a Baby” was a unique experience, representing the fact that the performance is unique to them and the audience watching it.

It started with the audience helping to name a character. That character was May Dragonbird, a 42-year-old woman who loved to skateboard and dreamt of meeting Tony Hawk, having his baby and “finally having health insurance!”

This portion of the show was completely improvised and led down many hilarious, perverse and surreal storylines that included emergency room doctors harvesting body parts and telling patients “if only they had made it sooner;” after fourteen-hour wait times.

May Dragonbird reached her goals; she married Tony Hawk and finally got health insurance. The comedians never abandoned the character, only creating new characters and furthering the crazy story.

The History of the Future’s visit to Hole in the Wall Theater was a welcome change in line-up. The comedy troupe continues their visit through April 15. For more information on ticket prices, show times and directions, visit hitw.org.