Team Starkid, known for their Youtube hits: A Very Potter Musical Trilogy and Holy Musical B@man, take up residence at the Up Comedy Club stage after their previous sketch show success Airport for Birds and present a new set of original sketches and songs that reflect the pop culture and experiences of the 1990’s: a time when the Internet was accessed by a telephone cord, boy bands ruled the world, Pokemon was everyone’s favorite TV show, and the greatest gift a child could receive was a Nintendo 64. With lots of laughs and in jokes relating to their previous works, Team Starkid shines and further cements its place in Chicago theatre.
Brian Holden’s direction of the show is brilliant, and while the audience can hear the actor’s individual voices in the sketches they wrote and performed in, Holden’s direction helps all the sketches and songs flow beautifully and connect to each other. If his direction was absent, the sketches would seem inconsistent and disjointed. While he did not perform in this Starkid show, his presence is still there and the audience can feel it too. Denise Donovan, a Columbia College Alum, stands out as a performer with her “go big or go home” energy that she brings to all of her roles. In Horse Shirts, a sketch she co-wrote with Lauren Lopez and performed in, all she does is speak in a German accent and provide ridiculous scenarios in which wearing a “horse shirt” would be acceptable, but because she puts so much passion and energy into the role, it gets progressively more hilarious as the scene goes on.
Joe Walker is another stand out performer. A member of Starkid from the beginning, he goes from playing a member of the boy band 3ever to a girl at a sleepover that’s in love with the film Titanic to Die Slammer, a violent German man who appears every time a certain Pog card is played and back again within milliseconds. He manages to capture the parody nature of each character as well as giving them depth and a certain humanity that the audience can relate to. A fan favorite of Starkid, known for his roles as Voldemort and Professor Umbridge in AVPM and B@tman in HMB, he once again delivers a hilarious, heartwarming performance in every role he decides to take on. For hardcore Starkid fans, he even drops a reference to playing Voldemort in one of the sketches. Pat Rourke, whose debut performance was Airport for Birds, shines as Gus, a blues singer who wrote all the hit songs for popular 90’s musicians like Spice Girls, Avril Lavigne, and others. Hearing “Sk8ter Boy” or “Wannabe”, very upbeat pop songs, sung as if they were old blues songs is nothing more than gut-busting hilarious.
A favorite sketch was Man I Feel Old, a sketch written by Walker, Holden, Daniel Strauss, and Nick Gage. In the sketch, Gage questioned Strauss, playing a 27 year old, and Lopez, playing a 16 year old, on things relating to pop culture and there is the disconnect between the contestants. Whenever one of them shouted “Man, I Feel Old”, they received 10 points. As great as the overall show was, for those in the audience who grew up in 90’s, they couldn’t help, but hear that refrain echo throughout the show. The sketch, while hilarious, covered that generation gap perfectly and summed up how the 90’s generation feels when looking at the world around them and how things have changed since they were youth. It was a nostalgic revue of their childhood and it made the show all the more poignant for those audience members.