David Ives’s All in the Timing is aptly named. The success or failure of this series of one-act comedies depends mainly on a quick and sparkling delivery. The subject matter is abstruse, hilarious, and often strange-ranging from existential philosophy to copulation with furniture-and it can be a challenging show to put on, even for professionals.
That’s why it’s such a pleasure to see a group of student actors carry it off so well. Out of the seven short comedies that comprised the evening, only three were less than a delight, and this mixed success can even be partially blamed on the playwright-certain parts of All in the Timing are performed more frequently than others for good reasons.
Since other theater companies have put on All in the Timing in Santa Barbara before, SBCC evidently decided that using some of the lesser-known one-acts would set their show apart. Although some of these, such as Foreplay, or the Art of the Fugue, in which the same man simultaneously seduces three women on a miniature golf course, are well worth the effort, others are less enjoyable.
Bolero, a rather disturbing play involving a young couple who hear strange and unpleasant noises from the apartment next door, is an example of one that doesn’t fit in particularly well with the rest of the evening’s entertainment. Most of the show is frenetic, fast-paced comedy, delivering constant laughs and more than a few gasps of disbelief. Bolero felt slow and uninspired, and didn’t offer the same skillful acting seen throughout much of the rest of the show.
There were some true standouts in the cast. Shane Rose (Jack, Chuck #1, and News Guy) gave a performance worthy of a professional actor-all three of the pieces in which he appeared were funnier, sharper, and more charming because of his presence. Two other young actors to watch were Jenna Scanlon (Loudspeaker Voice, Mona Thumpington-Fffienes, and Museum Gal) and Josh Jenkins (Roger Penworthy-Pilks, Chuck #2, and Homeless Guy). Jenkins in particular has a command of accent and verbal play that’s astounding to see in someone so young.
Overall, SBCC’s Rick Mokler has produced a show at least as fun and entertaining as anything Santa Barbara’s professional theater companies have done recently. These student actors may not have much experience, but the play’s the thing, and this time they’ve done it well.