Leah reviews 'Thank You Kiss Presents: Secret Handshakes' 

With scripted sketches, improv, video, plenty of pop music and, of course, a secret handshake, Thank You Kiss — comprised of Marc D’Amico, Megan Mack, John Forrest Thompson, and Beth Winslow — makes a hilarious return to the Blackfriars Theatre stage for the first time since 2017.

“Secret Handshakes” begins with everyday situations at places from the office, to suburbia, the dentist office and a moving car, and twists them into unexpected and bizarre outcomes. But there’s a method to this madness, and it’s reflective of the players’ training at comedic institutions like iO, The Second City and The Annoyance. Satire and wit abound, evident in a “bipartisan” perfume commercial, an on-the-nose sketch about public broadcasting fundraisers, and Thompson’s nine-year-old daughter jumping onstage for an irreverent political bit.

The four players interchange roles but have recurring characters throughout the show: tired parents, nosy neighbors, clueless coworkers and, even, a tube of toothpaste. The hive mind of this group is evident, and Saturday’s audience erupted in continual laughter throughout the 60-minute performance.

“Thank You Kiss” recently won The Missouri Review’s prestigious 2019 Miller Audio Prize for Humor for its 2015 sketch “Simon Says.”

“Thank You Kiss Presents: Secret Handshakes” will not be performed again during Rochester Fringe 2019.

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