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REVIEW: Unitard: Tard Core

August 30, 2017 5:00 am0 commentsViews: 59
David Ilku, Nora Burns, and Mike Albo are Unitard.

David Ilku, Nora Burns, and Mike Albo are Unitard.

by Steve Desroches

The pen is mightier than the sword, but nothing conquers vocal cords. And when it comes to the most effective method of attack it’s best to lunge with comedy. It’s hard to ignore the palpable tension and anxiety in the air that has only increased since Election Day last November. It’s a disorienting era to say the least. Since art is a mirror of society it’s an added challenge in troubled times for artists, particularly of the comedic variety, to produce work that resonates in their medium. The comedy trio Unitard – featuring David Ilku, Nora Burns, and Mike Albo – have long ago mastered the rapier wit needed to slice up the zeitgeist while also being savagely funny.

Based in New York City, Unitard’s Provincetown shows are always highly anticipated making them a beloved and unique fixture of the town’s live performance scene if for no other reason than their ability to lampoon current events, politics, and local culture with finger-on-the-pulse accuracy. And there is no doubt where their allegiances lie, especially in this show, which features Burns’ uncanny satirical impersonations of right-wing hateful harpy Ann Coulter and a delightfully vulgar skit about Donald Trump’s hemorrhoids. Politically, they are like a comedic bug zapper taking down corruption, hypocrisy, and ignorance with high-voltage humor.

While Unitard may be a left-wing troika, they pull no punches when it comes to the weaknesses of liberal culture and thought or the bland and rote annoyances expelled by current-day hipsters.  So for those ready to burn a pile of skinny jeans amd strike the word “artisanal” from the English language, or who don’t give a crap about Williamsburg (or Red Hook…or Bushwick), you and Unitard are simpatico. Of all of the evening’s performances the skit that splits the arrow on the bull’s eye is Albo’s performance of a pretentious New York transplant to Berlin, the hipster capital of the world, returning to tell his friends they basically live in a morgue. It’s as searing as it is funny because it is based in truth. And the best part of a Unitard show is that when they get to poking fun at hipsters there is always a crop squirming in the audience with a flash of self-recognition. Keep an eye out. It’s a joy to watch.

The members of Unitard have also distinguished themselves with their individual work. For instance, Ilku with the Dueling Bankheads, Albo with his own performances and journalism as well as books like Hornito: My Lie Life and The Underminer, and Burns with her work in the comedy troupe the Nellie Olesons. But when they combine as Unitard it is pure magic as they express a true artistic generosity with each other that makes room for each to contribute and excel, creating a great ensemble presenting a smart, hilarious show you don’t want to miss.

Unitard: Tard Core is at the Art House, 214 Commercial St., Provincetown, Friday, September 1 and Saturday, September 2 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets ($30 general and $40 VIP) are available at the box office and online at ptownarthouse.com. For more information call 508.487.9222.