nocturne falls picIf you want to trek to a land of hilarious, oddball fun, hit the trails to “Nocturne Falls” tomorrow night at the Establishment Theater.

The show is one of Comedy Sportz’ regular after-hours studio series gigs, a slate of shorter performances with an R-rated slant that hit different distinct audiences, but have one thing in common – they’re all unique, hilarious and improvisational fun.

“Nocturne” is part “Twin Peaks,” part Mayberry, part Weekly World News. It’s set in the town of the same name, and the show involves a group of its residents, each chatting, in monologues and scenes with each other, about a certain topic of interest in the town during that time period. It could be anything from the declaration of a new holiday to the dedication of a new stop light to a fresh piece of gossip about one of the other town’s bizarre residents.

The night I saw the show, (“Nocturne” only turns up, like all of the studio series gigs, about once every six weeks) the residents were buzzing about a potential visit to their hamlet from Donald Trump. The residents (much like the country itself) were divided over the Trump stop and each delivered a series of interchanging and interlocking views on it that escalated to a funny and suitably strange end.

Of particular note on the night I saw the show were the performances of Jessica Nicol, Kristen Fairchild and Patrick Adamson. Nicol played a bubbly ditz cluelessly flitting along and did so in hilarious fashion, her verbal oddities and faux pas innocent and goofy. Fairchild was an uptight busybody, the type of which is a trope in small-town comedies, but Fairchild hit all the right notes with it and transcended the trope. Likewise, Adamson was the oafish conspiracy nut, but rather than playing to a stereotype he gave the character an edge, dark and nuanced, that made him all the more creepy and funny, while still imbuing him with the inherent incredulous stupidity that generated some nice broad laughs.

It goes without saying that each performance at The Establishment is a unique work of art. Such is the nature of improvisational comedy. Hence reviewing the show has to be done in broad strokes, because the show I see and review is not going to be the same as the one you will experience. But I highly recommend taking the journey and immersing yourself in the experience. The Establishment is a wealth of talented performers and when they’re on the top of their game, they generate some brilliant work. Even when they’re not, the scenes and situations come so fast and furious that on average you’re bound to get your night’s worth in laughs. Definitely check out “Nocturne Falls.” I know I’m looking forward to seeing it again.


Nocturne Falls
9:30 p.m. Friday
Establishment Theater, 220 19th St., Rock Island
Tickets are $5 at the door, the show is free if you buy a ticket to the earlier, 7 p.m. Comedy Sportz show

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.