Asheville’s theater troupe LYLAS has boasting rights to being the area’s “first and only all-female sketch-comedy troupe” — a claim that goes a long way towards explaining the show. Since the eight women involved are, well, women, their subject matter is stuff girls relate to. Sex and the City, housewives, fitness, organic soy Twinkies. But the women of LYLAS (an acronym for that age-old yearbook phrase, “love ya like a sis”) are bold, irreverent and audacious enough to hold their own in the often male-dominated comedy field.
Would You Like Yoga with That? is the fifth production for LYLAS (and their fourth all-original show), and they come off as seasoned professionals with a tightly honed act. In fact, the only thing about the show that I don’t get is the name — what’s with the yoga? Actress Emily Miller gave an opening introduction followed by an impressive backbend, but then … no more yoga. And in a series of skits largely skewering Asheville culture, yoga jokes seem appropriate.
But no matter. The physical comedy is more than flexible enough to make up for a dearth of pretzel poses. Especially outstanding with the body humor were Jenny Bunn (as a potty-mouthed senior at the DMV, an apron-wearing fitness buff [pictured] and a European hooker-wannabe with an unidentifiable accent) and Betsy Pucket (as a lotto-winning housewife and an employee at the “too much” information booth). Miller won a lot of laughs in her turn as Carrie Bradshaw — as played by the title character from the movie Nell; Sarah Carpenter‘s hip-hop spouting, pose-striking “Byra,” host of “America’s Next Top Motel Hooker” had me laughing so hard I cried; Marissa Williams (who, by the way, works as advertising coordinator at Xpress, managed to turn a slapstick bit about “ATM Karaoke” into a pointed commentary about corporate domination.
Really, the evening had too many great moments to name them all, and though I liked some skits better than others, I left with the feeling that show offered something for everyone. To me, it’s impressive that this group of funny ladies could pull off such a seamless, well-rehearsed program considering the full plates they already deal with in their work and family lives. Some are seasoned actors, some are new and not-so-new moms — they must have gone weeks without sleep to bring the LYLAS show to its level of polish. Then again, sleep deprivation can account for some pretty humorous material.
Perhaps most fun (besides the ‘80s-heavy sound track) is the very local slant to the show. Those not from the immediate area might not catch some of the inside jokes, but everyone who lives here will appreciate the gentle ribbing. There’s a skit about a rivalry between the annual “Best Of” lists published by the Xpress and local daily paper The Asheville Citizen-Times for starters. As an Xpress staffer, I heartily approve. Then again, I’m biased.
LYLAS performs Would You Like Yoga with That? Wednesday-Saturday through Saturday, Feb. 9 at N.C. Stage Company. 7:30 p.m., $12 on Thursday, $15 Fridays and Saturdays. Info: 350-9090.
— Alli Marshall, A&E reporter