“ASTN Sports Network,” it says on the backdrop, and underneath there are pennants and a trio of desks on the small Avenue Theater stage. It's time for a performance of “Complete World of Sports (Abridged)” written by the group who first produced “Compleat Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)” some years ago, where the works of the Bard are dispatched in two hilarious hours.
Enter Damon Guerrasio, Eric Mather and Steven J. Burge to assure you that they will talk about every sport ever played in less than two hours. (And some you may not have heard about.)
There will be nine categories, played on seven continents — from then until now …
And they're off in a cloud of dust for an evening of well-timed physical comedy and clever spins on network sportscasters and athletes. They alternate between announcing and playing sports themselves, changing costumes — and the subject — at lightning speed.
When announcing, they have the rhythm and manner of the guys you hear broadcasting Sunday games. When they're demonstrating how to play, it's silly and great fun.
“Stick and ball sports” are discussed; golf, ice hockey, tennis. And baseball — so boring it puts Mather to sleep, although he's assured “there's a lot going on you can't see.”
Our trio, directed by the skilled Bob Wells, makes a quick visit to Ancient Greece and the Simpsons and to the Roman Empire (archery, curling,) In A.D. 1604, Elizabethans were bear-baiting and Ophelia failed her swimming test.
We visit Aborigines in Australia for boomerang throwing and Guerrasio in South America with the invention of basketball — with a human head. In America, circa 1776, “they took the game of lacrosse as their own.”
Bagpipes and Scottish golfers appear. Is golf a game or a sport? Answer: “They show it on ESPN.”
This trio of skilled comics continued a high-energy, precisely timed routine that gets to the Olympics and a Parade of Nations, which involved enlisting a few game audience members. The degree of backstage organization that kept the costumes coming was extraordinary.
This show is fun for the sports fan and the non-sports fan and only runs through this weekend.
“The Complete World of Sports” plays through Oct. 26 at the Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave., Denver. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Tickets: $26. 303-321-5925, avenuetheater.com.