April Hutchinson is one of the brightest and savagely funny stage writers around, and for several years she has created an on again off again series of performance sketches with a group of highly talented, quirky actors. Some of the best original writing and comedy execution of the past twenty years has been created under the auspices of this group, and her memorable Byte Nite series was a precursor for the very grown up sketch comedy which has become the vogue since then. Now she and her friends (Ryan Williams, Matt Johnson) are launching a new show at the latest addition to downtown's night life.
Edge of Sketch.
Several members of the troupe are graduates of Douglas Anderson, but the refreshing honesty and contemporary nature of the performances comes from lives lived elsewhere.
April Hutchinson, the brilliant writer and one of the creators of Edge of Sketch.
Hutchinson is probably best known locally for a series of sketches produced with several members of the present configuration, (Ryan Williams and Matt Johnson) White Trash Wedding, in which a couple living in the trailer park want to get gay married and have the support of their baptist/pentecostal family and friends.
From Left to Right: Matt Johnson, Ryan Williams, April Hutchinson
The new show will be lighter than the savage satire for which April is best known. According to the literature:
Edge of Sketch attempts to see the positive in a world where, as far as comedy is concerned, cynical sells. We have our moments of fun poking but for the most part, this is a good, clean comedy show. Edge of Sketch lets everyone in on the joke. The hearty laugh is guilt free, or mostly guilt free. Perhaps we can safely say Edge of Sketch is, simply put, organic comedy. We are local, home grown, with no bitter aftertaste. Fun is key and a fun crowd is essential.
The show features local theater staple, Matt Johnson as well as model and actor, Ryan Williams, taking on their roles as core cast members with much sketch experience between them. April Hutchinson writes the songs, er, sketches that make the whole world sing. World meaning Jacksonville and sing meaning, howl. Howl might be an overstatement, sometimes theres just a dull chuckle.
Building on the past remains of a war torn show known as Byte Nite, this show attempts to do what Nite could not. Edge of Sketch is one part intellectual, two parts bubble gum. The show espouses pop culture references like the successful older brother in the family (shows like Will & Grace) it will never be. Through music, scenes, and moments, the show is a laugh for cheap.
Prices are determined by a roll of the dice at the door, which is on top of a small ticket charge. The first show is July 25th with two short showings at 8:30 and 10:00. After the first show, it will move to its normal spot, the first Friday of every month at 8:00 PM. The first Friday show will be August 7th. The Sinclair is the spot. The address will seem familiar to most but trust me, this is a new space that is ready to take on the myriad of events headed its way. 521 West Forsyth Street, downtown. There is plenty of parking. The venue features wine and beer as well as some luxurious little libations that will make you feel right at home
You can find The Sinclair on Facebook to see who is visiting when. Their website will be traffic ready in no time.
521 West Forsyth St.
Matt Johnson and Ryan Williams
We can tell from experience that this if past performance has been any indicator, this will be one of the must see, had to have been there short shows of this season.
Whatever the format, no matter how adverse the performance space, this is a talented and hilarious crew of people. From Williams iconic preening and Johnson's goofy slapstick humor to the razorsharp edge of Hutchinson's writing, this has all the makings of a smart funny hit.
We expect great things.
(and contributing Metro Jacksonville Culture Staff)