DHS grad brings comedy show back home

By March 12, 2011

Davis native Phil van Hest will present his one-man show, "Phil the Void: Love is a Battlecat," at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at Sudwerk, 2001 Second St. in Davis. The show is a benefit for the Acme Theatre Company.

Local theatergoers will have the chance to enjoy some homegrown humor when Davis native Phil van Hest comes to town with his one-man show, “Phil the Void: Love is a Battlecat.”

The show will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday at Sudwerk Restaurant, 2001 Second St.

The comedic monologue tells the autobiographical story of how a kitten named Battlecat turned a crass rogue-about-town into a sensitive young man.

“It’s all of my most traumatic and embarrassing relationship stories and the most adorable kitten stories you could ever want to hear,” van Hest said.

Van Hest is a 1997 graduate of Davis High School, where he was involved with the drama department and Acme Theatre Company. After attending UC Santa Cruz and Cal State Long Beach, he began writing monologues and touring professionally, appearing at comedy and fringe festivals around North America and Australia.

He has received enthusiastic reviews for his intelligent and insightful commentary on modern life. Reviewing an earlier show, the Indiana Business Journal compared him to “a biggie-sized ‘Daily Show’ opening rant (without the snarkiness) tempered with Lily Tomlin’s ‘Search for Signs of Intelligent Life’ sense of awe, cut with David Cross hipness, kneaded with Mort Sahl’s brains, and tempered with Lenny Bruce’s outrage.

“That being said, van Hest is an original.”

“Battlecat” is his fifth full-length monologue; clips from his previous shows can be found at http://www.philvanhest.com. Though his work can be serious at times — his next show, “Mother Banking Bank Holes,” will take on the for-profit banking system — van Hest calls “Battlecat” more of a feel-good show.

“I think it has a lot of wisdom in it and a lot of life lessons that I’ve learned,” he said. “It ends on a positive, life-affirming note.”

The show is part of van Hest’s farewell tour in Northern California. After nine years of living in Los Angeles, he is moving to Indianapolis.

“This is sort of my full-circle farewell to the hometown,” he said.

Doors for the event will open at 7 p.m., and food from Sudwerk will be available to purchase at that time. (The restaurant is open to all ages; however, van Hest’s show will contain adult content.)

Music before the show will be provided by local band Neon Lite, an acoustic, vocal-oriented group formed as an offshoot of classic rock band Custom Neon. The band features Davis High graduates Dave Walters, Chris Stabenfeldt and Sharyn Orris and Davis Community Church Pastor Mary Lynn Tobin. Artists covered by the group include the Eagles, the Beatles and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

A $10 donation for the evening is suggested, but larger donations will be accepted gladly. Part of the proceeds from the show will benefit Acme Theatre Company.

For more information, call (530) 401-6688.

Maddy Ryen

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