Monday, August 6, 2012

The Joint's 'Little Rock and a Hard Place' offers sharp satire of local politics

Posted By on Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Little Rock and a Hard Place stars, from left, Brett Ihler, Steve Farrell and Vicki Farrell.
  • "Little Rock and a Hard Place" stars, from left, Brett Ihler, Steve Farrell and Vicki Farrell.

There is something new on the Central Arkansas comedy scene and it is very, very funny. The Joint is the new comedy theater and coffeehouse on Main Street in Argenta. It was created by comedy veterans Steve and Vicki Farrell and Brett Ihler, who are the stars of The Main Thing, which is The Joint's in-house troupe. The current show, "Little Rock and a Hard Place," is a wonderfully smart combination of musical comedy and local satire, on Friday and Saturday nights until Sept. 1.

Here’s the premise: A California couple is headed back home from a cross-country trip when they get into an argument near the intersection of I-30 and I-40. The wife stops the car in the middle of the freeway and they are promptly run over by a big rig, necessitating an appearance before St. Peter. The angel informs the husband — played by Steve Farrell — that he is “borderline” and will have to spend time in purgatory, specifically downtown North Little Rock, circa 1995.

What follows is a witty and at times hilarious tour of the twin cities’ downtowns during their nadirs as Steve’s character tries to win holy points by saving Argenta. The writing shows a real knowledge of the political and cultural nuances of the relationship between the two cities, which is a surprise, because the couple and their extended families are fairly new to Central Arkansas. And it’s real funny. Go get dinner at Capeo’s or Starving Artist and then make the 8 p.m. show at the Joint next door. We had one of the most enjoyable nights out in years.

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