Fringe review: Well â€¦ Since You Asked
Itâ€™s a general rule of life that if you ever encounter someone who proudly calls himself â€śopinionated,â€ť you should run very swiftly in the opposite direction. And if said person declares that other folks actively solicit his colorful opinions â€¦ well, thatâ€™s usually when I start looking around for the nearest wooden stake or silver bullet.
This is the precedent Kate Oâ€™Neal has to surmount in herÂ Well â€¦ Since You Asked, a program of standup and songs in which she purports to shoot from the hip, take no prisoners and filet up a bunch of sacred cows. And all of it (she says with tongue firmly planted in her cheek) is being done by request.
Though the show was co-written and directed by accomplished funnyman (and veteran Fringe show doctor) Jay Hopkins, its effect is less than fully persuasive. Oâ€™Nealâ€™s opinions are too often softball swipes at less-than-controversial topics, like botox. (Sheâ€™s against it. Hope you were sitting down.) And curiously, for an extended stretch, she all but abandons her theme in favor of straight-up autobiography. This material is promising but underdeveloped: Anecdotes donâ€™t pay off as we expect, and some initially intriguing characters arenâ€™t fleshed out properly. For instance — and I never thought I would say this of any human being walking the face of this Earth — Iâ€™d really like to hear more about her kids. They sound like a lively bunch, whether theyâ€™re feigning disfigurement for fun or rising gamely to her challenge that they conduct all of their household squabbling in Cockney accents.
The musical interludes are by far the highlight of the show. Oâ€™Neal has a terrific set of pipes, and while the narrative rationale for each number isnâ€™t always clear, she approaches all of them with pitch-perfect panache. Next time, Iâ€™d like to see her attempt a more straightforward cabaret act, with the between-song patter scaled way back and polished to the endearing shine of which she is clearly capable.
Thatâ€™s just my opinion, anyway. Thanks for asking.
Richard Paul Presents/Pink Hair Productions – Windermere, FL
Thursday 17 May; at 7:00pm in the Brown
Saturday 19 May; at 3:30pm in the Brown
Sunday 20 May; at 11:15pm in the Brown
Monday 21 May; at 6:45pm in the Brown
Tuesday 22 May; at 7:15pm in the Brown
Friday 25 May; at 7:45pm in the Brown
Saturday 26 May; at 12:45pm in the Brown
Price: $8 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)
Discount(s): Students|Seniors|Women over 50 Wearing Leopard Clothing