Blink & You Might Miss Me at Asylum Lab
by Danny Rangel~
Late in Blink & You Might Miss Me, writer and performer Larry Blum declares, “Everyone has a story to tell.” Blum’s autobiographical one-man show about a struggling dancer/actor/entertainer is an intriguing story indeed, but it is ultimately disappointing.
No doubt, Blum has had quite a career. We follow him through his struggling artist years in 1960s New York City and on through his big break role in the Broadway musical A Chorus Line in 1983. Various encounters with the famous and the beautiful ensue, including one particular (and uproarious) tale of Blum’s act of petty theft against one of TV’s greatest icons. Blum lets us see a lifetime’s worth of hilarious memorabilia and film clips, although many audience members under 30 may be too young to catch some of the laughs.
But Bloom’s tale is regrettably stalled by poor execution and quite a few unfortunate puns. Bloom’s rushed performance gives the impression that something big is coming, but whatever it is, we never see it. A good story that could have been great, Blink & You Might Miss Me stops just short of success
Blink & You Might Miss Me plays June 18 at 8:30pm, June 19 at 2:30pm and June 25 at 7pm.
The Trouble With Words at The Actors Circle Theatre
by Marcus Kaye~
It comes as no surprise that finding words, outside of “a Fringe MUST!” to describe the brilliance of The Trouble With Words is difficult at best. The song cycle by Gregory Nabours is a wholly original examination of the everyday words we use. From the connotations of the word “nice” to being tongue-tied; from double entendre to empty promises, each of Nabour’s songs tackles a different issue with words.
Nabour’s original, jazzy songs are funny, heartbreaking, relatable and catchy-as-hell. The tonal change from song to song can, at times, be jarring, but if anything, that is testimony to the emotional depth and performance prowess of the actors in The Trouble With Words.
It is nothing short of a mystery that every star of this show doesn’t have a recording contract. But Julianne Donelle, Josh Eddy, Aimee Karlin, Sarah Phillips, Christopher Roque and Ryan Wagner are more than just a set of musical chops. They also have the ability to honestly convey what’s behind the words they’re singing.
Skilled direction by Patrick Pearson keeps The Trouble With Words from being a concert, and adds another beautiful level to the performance. His touch is evident in each song, helping mold each into its own story within the cycle.
The Trouble With Word plays June 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 at 9pm at The Actors Circle Theatre, June 19 at 8pm and June 23 at 6pm at Fringe Central.
(Editor’s Note: Erik McEwen joined Debbie Dufour as a costume designer for this production and was uncredited in the program. )
Matt & Ben at Artworks Theater – The Annex
by Freddy Puza~
The origin of creative inspiration is unknown. Writers can spend hours in front of a blank screen hoping and praying for some sort of divine intervention. But what if it fell from the ceiling and landed in your living room. Well, that exact scenario comes true in the hilarious one-hour show Matt and Ben which tells the story of how Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote the award-winning Good Will Hunting script.
This is one show you don’t want to miss during this year’s Fringe Festival. In addition to the great acting and story, there are a couple of surprise celebrity guests who interact with Matt and Ben. The play is well-written, thoughtful and the jokes are very entertaining.
Maggie Henry and Jessica Blair, yes, women, play Matt and Ben and are stellar. So much of the success of this show is due to the fun they have with their characters and the high-energy and life they bring. Also, they perfectly capture the physicality and essence of a guy.
Mindy Kaling from The Office and Brenda Withers co-wrote this clever script, but I can’t help but wonder where it fell from?
Matt & Ben runs June16, 18 and 23 at 9:30 p.m., June 24 at 8 p.m. and June 26 at 3:30 p.m.
Another Effing Family Drama at Mainstage, Artworks Theatre & Studios
by Danny Rangel~
Another Effing Family Drama is an admirable attempt at highlighting the many pitfalls of the standard kitchen sink tale, and although there are some good laughs here, the play is an unfortunate combination of hollow characters, meandering plot lines and overall poor execution.
The play begins with a snapshot of the Effing Family, a dysfunctional collection of crass misfits and alcoholic nitwits. They are well aware of their roles in the family drama archetype, and they declare this knowledge with gusto. But we soon shift focus to the late-arriving central character, June, a longtime victim of her mother’s abusive parenting style. Again the characters declare their knowledge of their predicable story arcs, but by this point the laugh line is already stale.
Drama‘s most glaring shortcoming is its obvious lack of direction. Characters enter and exit under glaringly artificial circumstances. Once onstage, even the most boisterous of characters find they have little to do with themselves when not in the limelight. Given its intriguing premise and its collection of talented actors (most notably Eva Minemar, who turns in an admirable performance in the role of June), Another Effing Family Drama is a resounding disappointment.
Another Effing Family Drama plays June 16 at 10pm, June 18 at 11pm, June 25 at 3pm and June 26 at 5pm
Sister Mary Liar at Fringe Central
by Tracey Paleo~
A young girl’s confused attempt to navigate through the complexities of life and God, by volunteering herself at an infirmary for retired nuns, competing with her brother’s decision to take up the priesthood.
Not so much a journey but rather a sequence. This show is more suited to television sitcom than comedic stage drama. To be fair, one woman shows are tough to do. They take a lot of guts. Carla Snowden is not only enthusiastic, she has a definitive, first-hand knowledge of and apparent love for the characters she portrays. Her lying is more of a reaction to double standards, ironies, unfairness and low self-esteem. However, the play is drawn out in idiosyncrasies and slightly typical nun bashing slapstick that falls short of any sort of epiphany.
Ms. Snowden, by trade is a comedic performer – her strong point. This show does have flow. But the transitions were a bit weak. I would have liked to have seen more weight and technical superiority with her character changes. Ms. Snowden is certainly capable. Perhaps it was simply a lack of strong direction. The show never really comes to a point. But in truth it isn’t necessary. Worth a look if you are seeking very light humor and sweet sentiment.
Written and performed by Carla Snowden. Produced by Chris McGowan.
Performances are Friday, June 17th @ 8:00pm and Saturday June 25th @ 6:30pm at Fringe Central ArtWorks Theater & Studios