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Review: Water Coolers are delightful, funny

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At Sunday's program by the Charleston Community Music Association, the Water Coolers provided a delightful afternoon of poking fun at corporate life. The advance stories didn't adequately prepare me for the amazing vocal talent and blend of voices by the three men and two women who make up the cast.

I expected more chatter and banter around some giant water cooler prop, but the singers made do with three chairs, a tray table, two bells, a ham, plaid wrapping paper, Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies and a giant can of potato chips.

The pre-scene of the show's opening musical number, "Turn Off Your Cell" to the tune of "Carol of the Bells," pulled the audience into action. The jolly tone was set and the hit tunes just kept punning along in the style of "Menopause, The Musical."

Much of the audience in the University of Charleston's Geary Auditorium have probably been retired for at least 10 years, but all were chuckling. Obviously not much had changed about human nature, despite the possible evolution that could have taken place in the meantime. "Political Correctness," for example, had its own production number, and even the dreaded team-building training sessions were spoofed-revealed-spoofed for what most people really think of them.

Even the jabs about updated office technology were not lost on the audience, most who obviously own a computer and have had to call the help line at some point in time. The troupe did their homework, and had a natural way of incorporating local flavor of West Virginia, specifically Charleston, into their banter.

I was most impressed with Kevin White, pianist, who chuckled a few times himself from the keyboard (no name available in the program). He inserted himself into the action at least for a photo opportunity with two daring audience volunteers who had to answer West Virginia trivia and take part in some improv stunts. The final stunt had them singing and acting out "T-E-A-M" to the tune of "Y-M-C-A" by the Village People. Willing audience volunteers provided the T and the M.

The loudest laughs came from "Who Will Buy?" from the musical "Oliver," which was transformed to a song about parents peddling their students' fundraising items at work. "Proud Mary" adapted to the modern day lyrics..."Scrolling on the Touch Screen" had the audience laughing, too. I much preferred the intimate setting of Geary Auditorium, the sound engineering was well-done. I understood every word, spoken and sung.


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