Huffs (& Stuffs) is another excellent night of entertainment at Theater Undreground. TUG, as they call themselves, are dedicated to bringing new and edgy theater experiences to Richmond, Illinois (just over the border from Twin Lakes, Wisconsin). This show marks TUG’s second year of productions; the first featured musicals, comedies, hillbillies, and zombies, among other delights.
The “new” in this show is Stuffs, a selection of improv comedy by people who have never done improv comedy before. Among the troupe of would-be comedians I recognized regulars Tim Mosbach & David Baker (frequent TUG directors), Anne Dowd-Fisher, Tabitha Mosbach, Ian Hall, and Chris Troka, among others. And you know what? They were funny. Sometimes they were very funny — particularly in a canoe skit and a “helping hands” game. Sorry y’all couldn’t be there, because the wonderful (and awful) thing about improv is that it’s not gonna be the same through the rest of this show’s run. However, I have every confidence that the TUG improv team will be funny on any given night. Heck, they might even be funnier; this was their first time doing improv in front of an audience, after all. And at the intermission, I heard several people say they should do an entire night of improv.
Following the intermission, comes the “edgy.” Huffs is a one-woman show performed by comedian, actress, and Richmond native Kelsie Huff. I believe that this is the first time she has performed the show in her hometown, and for some locals, it had to have been a slightly uncomfortable experience. Huffs is a confessional dealing with parts of Kelsie’s life growing up in Richmond. It is by turns funny, sad, uplifting, maddening, and touching. Much of the life detailed was not very entertaining to live through, I imagine, but it is highly entertaining to hear about, and is portrayed by a master storyteller.
Huffs and its creator have won several awards, and it’s easy to see why. Telling you too much more might spoil the surprises. Which is to say, that you should go see it. Huffs (& Stuffs) runs this week and the next at Theater Undreground in the old Memorial Hall Civic Theater in Richmond.
Make your reservations early, as past TUG shows have sold out.