|Cabaret Satire On TV Tape
the ecstasy created by the new "Groove Tube"
show at the Savoy Tivoli is traceable more to
conditioning than wit, but the fact remains that the
ecstasy is there.
"Groove Tube" is a theatrical presentation of
cabaret satire through the medium of television, whatever
that means. Picture the Committee or the Pitschel Players
doing a show, both in a theater and on location. Now
videotape the entire mess, edit it to an hour and a half
of the best stuff and show it to an audience through
closed-circuit monitors. Presto, the "Groove
It has existed on the East
Coast for nearly three years, but Monday night's opening
in a separate room of the North Bear bar and restaurant
(1438 Grant Avenue) marked the West Coast premiere of
what turned out to be no less than one of the funniest
shows I have ever seen.
"Groove Tube," which
was directed by Kenneth Shapiro and written by Shapiro
and Lane Sarasohn, comprises some 28 sketches, mock
commercials and social comments. The sound balancing and
clarity could be improved, several of the bits are a hair
too long, and one or two don't make it, but the great
bulk of the material ranges from merely delightful to
The first half is stronger,
including "Faces" (how to mouth a symphony),
"Ko-Ko the Clown" (Almost too true to be
funny), "Pinball" (an exercise in form and
perspective), and "Robert Elgin and the News,"
while the second half is mostly distinguished by
"Olympics," a Wide World of Sports-type
presentation of the annual Sex Games, live from Tijuana.
Many of the bits are illogical
(or logical, depending on your point of view) extensions
of familiar TV idiocy; others are pure in the sense that
they would have been equally funny if television did not
exist. Some material is pretty earthy but most relies
simply on taking the absurdities of the tube and
extending them one step further.
"Groove Tube" is
lightweight and some may mutter that it's not, somehow,
significant. Well and good. But if you would like to
laugh a bit - long sometimes, hard often - it's certainly
as sure a thing as is available in this city in the month
of May, 1970, anno disaster.
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