Roundhouse” is essentially a youth-oriented version of “In Living Color.” Created by Buddy Sheffield (a former head writer of the latter) with Rita Sheffield, show features a talented ensemble cast of 11 who sing, dance and perform skits. Good for the most part, it has the potential to be better.
The skits cover subjects like popularity in school, the environment, father-son relations, as well as celebs such as Michael Bolton and Sally Struthers. The satiric sketches, such as the father/son and celebrity-mocking bits, work best; however, when subjects like the environment are tackled, show comes across as overly preachy and almost condescending.
There is lots of singing and dancing, but the display of the cast’s talent seems to be the only reason for its inclusion.
It all takes place in a soundstage which has an overly polished feel — complete with a howling and screaming young audience, an abundance of swirling stage lights and a competent if not very original house band. Lots of hand-held camera work is employed, with only occasional success.
“Roundhouse” is very fast-moving, for which the writers, director Bruce Gowers and editor Ned Weisman deserve note. There are no breaks in the action, with each skit/song leading directly into the next. There is no real host, though the show could use one.
Cast member John Crane deserves special mention for his portrayal of an annoying father as well as an excellent impression of former President George Bush.
The show is aimed at a young audience with a wide spectrum of viewing interests, but “Roundhouse” is trying to appeal to all of them. The series needs to decide if it wants to be “In Living Color” or “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Heading in the direction of the former would seem the best option. Respect a young audience and they’ll respect you.