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Calamari Sisters

Delphine and Carmela Calamari


Well, the Calamari Sisters did it again.

No, I'm not talking about presenting another side-splitting Auburn Public Theater drag show in "Bun in the Oven: Contractions with the Calamari Sisters." Although they did do that, too.

I'm talking about calling me on stage to be their cooking assistant.

Somehow, I was summoned to the sisters' kitchen again, clothed in a naughty apron again, prodded with personal questions and double entendres until I was marinara-red again. And it was just as fun as last time.

More to the point, it was just as impressive a glimpse at the performers' improv skills. Sure, you can see where they steer the conversation toward prepared banter. But they're just as funny responding to the unforeseeable things their chosen audience participants say and do. (When I told Delphine I was agnostic, she asked if my religious beliefs involved eggs.) The sisters don't stop at the stage, either. Peculiar audience reactions, spectators entering or leaving and anything else a live TV show host would notice in the stands are played for just as many laughs.

When they're not improvising, "Bun in the Oven" (created by Jay Falzone, Dan Lavender and Stephen Smith) finds Delphine and Carmela both pregnant, and repurposing their cable-access cooking show as a telethon to support the mothers-to-be. But they're not both ready: As they throw themselves a baby shower, Delphine's usual meticulousness meets Carmela's care-free attitude in another hilarious, heartfelt personality clash.

One gets the impression Delphine and Carmela would stage their many "Calamari Sisters" shows in front of no one — they look like they're having that much fun yakking it up, spooning Italian stereotypes, post-menopausal horniness and a little song and dance over the story's steady boil. Their raunchy anecdotes of extended family and their preternatural gift for getting the biggest laugh out of a certain fecal curse word make "Bun in the Oven" another riot.

The show's emotional center is Carmela's touching ballad for her future child, followed by a flash of maternal anxiety that played out a little like a live adaptation of David Lynch's "Eraserhead." Delphine's second-act vamping for phone pledges, topped by her hilariously stuttering the chorus of Madonna's "Like a Virgin," was another musical highlight. I know because I had the best seat in the house for it.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.