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Lead McEnroe @ The Magnet Theater - 10.24.8By: Phil Wells

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Lead McEnroe is Mike Barry, Nick Benaquista, Tim Eberle, Dan Scivoletti and Rob Williams. They are directed by The Magnet's Alex Marino.

Improv troupe Lead McEnroe performed "Songs of the Cul-De-Sac" last Friday at The Magnet Theater, improvising no less than 35 distinct scenes in a 45-minute show.

In the hands of a lesser group, this could have quickly spiraled out of control, but Lead is a capable cast of patient, collaborative players. A handful of situations are introduced at the top of the act, and the rest of the show doesn't veer too far away from the established material. At its heart, "Songs" is a character exploration. Nearly every edit was a tag-out, keeping the most interesting character on stage each time.

Using this method, these guys gave life and depth to a knife-wielding grandma, a barbershop tenor who destroys hotel rooms, and a stable of the most useless cops since The Big Rock Candy Mountain, among plenty of others. This was no studied retreading of archetypes, but a fearless character-creation machine. Even the animals in this show had personality. And, yes, there was some singing (but it's not a musical).

• Grandma Martha's prison bitch goes to hold her pocket only to find an old Werthers stuck there.
• "I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that's not a sheep at all."
• "Blue is heavier than red. ROY G BIV."
• Only one student attends a community college art class, and he is harassed by the entire faculty.

Phil Wells is an actor, writer, and member of comedy groups SidViscous! and Finger. His book, Try the Veal, is available at Amazon. He also maintains the oft-defunct movie review blog

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