February 16, 2006.By John Townsend, Lavender.
They’re flocking to Knock! once again. If you enjoyed the inventive comedy that won Best of the 2004 Minnesota Fringe Festival, you may want to catch its reprise. This time around, it’s better, frankly. It has new material, it holds together as a more unified piece, and it has evolved into an even sharper look at boys on the brink of puberty.
Jim Lichtscheidl’s hilarious script and concept do for male preadolescence what Heidi Arneson’s work has done for girls in the same phase.
Codirected with Peter Rothstein, Knock! spoofs, albeit gently, the family-sitcom genre of 1960s and ‘70s television. A tight ensemble vibrantly navigates interaction with projected film footage. It manifests with kinetic impeccability stock nuclear-family characters engaged in madcap antics. And choreographed physical action cleverly is matched with music.
Imagine a phone cord stretching for yards around flats on either side of the stage, with two prepubescent kids played by adults strumming it like a guitar string.
“Sister” is played with astutely observed cold wit by a grown man, Ken Rosen. She taunts her brother, protagonist Toehead (Lichtscheidl), with a love note she has stolen from him. But is the writer a boy or a girl? You decide.