The Marcus Center is currently running a production of “Cooking with the Calamari Sisters” in Vogel Hall. This “all-singing, all-dancing, all-cooking show” is a theatrical presentation of a televised cooking show starring musically-inclined Italian sisters, Delphine and Carmella Calamari. “Cooking with the Calamari Sisters” has met with a positive response from audiences, though it may not tickle everyone’s tastebuds.
One of the key contributing factors to the sisters’ comedy is the sense of familial bonds and some of the stereotypes that come with a close-knit families. They frequently talk over each other and ramble on about their family members and inside jokes they soon let the audience in on. By the end of the evening, the audience feels as though they are welcomed into the Calamari family and that they’ve known them their whole lives.
Few can say that they saw “Cooking with the Calamari Sisters” and didn’t laugh at some point. Maternal, no-nonsense Delphine and free-spirited, boy crazy Carmella make a great duo as they bounce off each others’ styles and punchlines without missing a beat. They’re extremely talented at improvisation and including the audience, as they make something as mundane as a latecomer quietly entering the theater into a uproarious event.
However, “Cooking with the Calamari Sisters” isn’t for everyone. Most of the comedy relies on over-the-top characters and exaggerated facial expressions that might cater to a younger audience, while the content often features adult material.
This show is most certainly not for the timid. The Calamari Sisters involve audience participation in their outrageous kitchen shenanigans, which could be a bonus or hindrance depending on the audience member. They enjoy choosing reluctant audience members for audience participation and keeping them onstage for large portions of the show. While this can be very funny as it comes off very genuine as if they just had a house guest, it’s likely to make less extroverted audience members panic during the next “volunteer” search.
Ultimately, if you’re comfortable with audience participation and appreciate (or can overlook) childlike comical performance techniques within an adult comedy show, you can get to the heart of the show and appreciate it for what it is. “Cooking with the Calamari Sisters” plays on Italian family stereotypes, though it could easily apply to any family. The audience is welcomed into the Calamari family through two truly unique characters who draw audiences in through their unfiltered, unapologetic comedy.
“Cooking with the Calamari Sisters” has its final show at The Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall today, Oct. 2, at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online or by calling 414-273-7206.