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Photo Review: Follies poke fun at high school in ‘Teen Follies’

This year’s Fall Follies poked fun at the realities of teenage angst and the transition into adulthood — with a few teenage vampires thrown in for good measure.

For its 25th year, the university’s improvisation and sketch comedy group took to the Massey Performing Arts Center stage for a night of laughter and light-hearted roasts at Belmont.

As the house lights dimmed on opening night, the show began with a video introducing the actors and actresses, all playing stereotypical high school characters including jocks, nerds and of course vampires.

The opening number introduced the origin of the evening’s “Teen Follies” theme, starting the cast’s quest to create a sketch comedy themed prom.

Follies delivered on its promise to cater to Belmont’s niche sense of humor. Standard student headaches like visitation hours, unwanted cafeteria swipes and the aspiring musician trope all served as the butt of jokes.

The highlights of the night came from pre-recorded videos of the cast that played during set changes. From entrapment-committing undercover Campus Security officers to the boy band on the cusp of making it big at their Curb Cafe show, these videos had the crowd howling with laughter.

Beyond Belmont-specific banter, many of the sketches in the first half of the show hit on some of the growing pains students tend to go through in their first few years away from home. Themes of fitting in, roommate conflicts and fear of the future were all given hilarious twists that left the audience laughing and possibly reflecting on their own experiences.

For this year’s Follies performance, players weren’t the only group to take the stage. Each of the show’s writers appeared on the stage at some point, highlighting the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making a Follies performance a reality.

The first half of the show set expectations high, with all the sketches falling neatly under the “Teen Follies” theme.

After intermission, the sketches skewed toward a more random assortment of comedy that drifted away from the theme of the night. While just as funny, the second half catered to a different sense of humor than the first.

Some of the best moments of the night came from the live band. Though they didn’t take themselves too seriously, their exceptional covers of teen-angst classics stole the show, with a powerful rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” turning the audience into a sea of cell phone flashlights.

The cast cleverly returned as the prom committee characters of the opening number to close out the second act.

The show’s meta-explanation shouldn’t be spoiled, but can be summarized by one cast member saying, “Don’t look into it that much!”

After a short manic breakdown, the cast took the stage for a final bow with a standing ovation from the crowd.

To see the absurdity that is “Teen Follies” for yourself, make sure to catch their Friday or Saturday show at MPAC at 7:30 p.m..

Photos by Justin Savage.

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