Brave New Workshop takes on presidential politics

The real world caught up with Brave New Workshop's latest piece last week. First, alum Tom Davis passed away on Thursday, followed by the tragic events in Colorado on Friday. For Davis, the company did what it does best: provide sharp satire that punctures the everyday assumptions and contradictions of modern-American life. For the Colorado tragedy, director Caleb McEwen made an unexpected appearance onstage during Act Two's BNN News, presenting an impassioned bit about the shootings that was piercing and even scored some comedic points about the already-crazed media frenzy swirling around the event. While that ended up being an unexpected highlight, the full show delivered on the promise that usually comes with Brave New Workshop's presidential election show. The piece takes no prisoners on either side of the aisle, noting early and often the similarities between Obama's policies and those of the Republicans, especially in a brilliant second-act bit involving a GOP focus group that alternately hisses and cheers Obama and Reagan, though the listed accomplishments are exactly the same. Along with his spot-on Obama, Andy Hilbrands gets a pair of highlights. In one, adding a hoodie makes him the target of the rest of the white cast. In the other, he and a sock puppet dig into some uncomfortable racial territory as he sings a song about his — and the president's — mixed ancestry. Lauren Anderson doesn't just break the fourth wall, she absolutely shatters it during a scene that starts as a "debate" about women's issues and ends with a rant about men's sexual insecurities. Again, profane, biting, and very funny. Davis would have been proud.

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