The Octavarius is attempting to make a place for themselves in the business of comedy. It contains nine ensemble members, all of whom are working on crafting a comedy persona; edgy yet honest, surprising yet consistent, alluding to certain established craftspeople and artists but adding splashes of original flavors. Casting directors, take note; nine comic actor products are in incubation over at Comedy Sportz. They know it, and they want you to know it, too.
Their show started with what was essentially a 45 minute introduction, a self-congratulatory hype festival worthy of professional wrestling, complete with product placements. “$3 Wild Turkey shots,” offers one of the performers from the stage with a knowing twinkle in his eye. “Ooh,” says another, wincing; “it’s going to be that kind of show, huh?”
Indeed. I have never seen any group of actors come out on stage and be so, so, so into themselves. I was flabbergasted. I wondered whether there was actually going to BE a show, or whether the entire performance was going to be about how great Octavarius was, is, and forever will be, amen (fist pump).
Eventually, however, the ensemble got around to what they had been hyping: their improv work. And you know what? It was good. The cast is talented. They were funny, sometimes even inspiringly so. A few moments even reached toward that sublime moment, that golden vision where someone is vulnerable and honest and touching and so beautifully real that you have to laugh because you recognize that face, that moment, that pristine pause where circumstances converge and, without a single word, contact is made.
So sure - they’re proud of themselves. Maybe they should be. They’re trying to make a living by putting smiles on people's faces. Is there anything more noble than that? I don’t think so.