Last Saturday, I got a real good deal on three tickets to see Matt & Ben so I ended up seeing it with my girlfriend and my roommate. It was only a little awkward having the third wheel there during a play which felt like it was made just for the two of us. But she’s a cool lady so it was chill.
So yeah, the show was great. So great. How great? I’m writing a Suggests about it aren’t I? Let me tell you, that’s NOT something I am typically inclined to do. But having laughed solidly for ninety minutes after only paying 8.75 per ticket (I think it was a Valentine’s Day special or some such nonsense) I feel compelled to expound on the greatness that is Matt & Ben.
Okay does everybody know what this play is? I’ll break it down real quick. Mindy Kaling, who runs the “Mindy Project” and was Kelly on “The Office”. She’s very funny, sometimes controversial or something but she also wrote this play and then distributed it all over the place. STAGEright got their sexy little mittens on it and had Copious Love’s Chelsea Madsen direct the POO out of it. It’s about how Matt and Ben wrote or didn’t write “Good Will Hunting”, all the roles are played by women. Sweet, moving on.
These women are FUCKING hilarious! In every moment, with every line delivered and received, from every corner of the stage, they hit. Over and over again.
Lauren Nicole Johnson brings to life what I have always suspected to be Ben Affleck’s true nature. I’ve seen the man in plenty of roles because you know, I have eyes and I’ve been alive the last thirty years. But I never got the sense that he was ever showing the camera the real Big Ben. (until Gone Girl, eh, eh…he showed his penis in that movie.) Whether or not it’s true life is irrelevant though, LNJ’s douche bro swagger chews through scenery like a wolverine in a moose carcass. I can’t wait to go back and watch it again so I can pay more attention to her reactions alone. She is always on in every single moment, and always deadly funny.
Sarah Rose Nottingham does a fantastic job playing a Matt Damon I have a harder time imagining under the surface of actual human actor who goes by that name. In this, Matt is the straight man to Ben’s foil, the Felix to his Oscar. Not a single cuss to give about the facts though, SRN plays her role perfectly and it results in a funny, and even touching dynamic. My favorite line; when Ben starts getting a little rough, “Stop! I’m lit’ler than you!”
Kiki Abba fills out the cast playing *uses fingers for mathing* three roles. I will say she was fantastic in all of them but I won’t talk about each one because they kind of serve as plot points best revealed in due course. But I will say this; JD CUSSING SALINGER knocks it out of the park!
The other stuff that makes a play go:
From the moment you walk in you are immersed in the bro-tastic world. Nineties era music and contraband are there to invite you in and take a seat on the comfortable couches amongst the junk food refuse. Pro tip; there are bags of half eaten chips, I’m not saying that they are encouraging you to snack on them during the show, and I can see why they wouldn’t want to encourage that, but I did and got away with it.
Top to Bottom, this was nearly an all-woman show. (Big ups to STAGEright staff John and Brendan.) Chelsea Madsen, Chelsea Chon and Shermona Mitchell worked in tandem with their cast to create a stream lined laugh delivery system that starts at 7:30pm and completes by 8:45pm on the mother-cussing dot! For a dude with a short attention span and a bad back that is a miraculous thing. I make no secret that I am a big fan of many of the people who helped put this together and many women comedians. Never the less, there will be those who say those most infuriating words, “woman aren’t funny.” Matt & Ben is a hearty bowl those cuss-heads can stick in their collective pipes and smoke.
Well done you funny ass ladies. Well done.
By Dick Phillips