Like any four-part program of contemporary one-act plays, Oh Sh!t, It’s Another Evening of One-Act Plays, presented on Feb. 17-20 and 24-27 by Raleigh, NC-based Bare Theatre at Common Ground Theatre in Durham, is a mixed bag. “Little Boy Love Goat,” written by Carmen-maria Mandley and directed by Lucinda Gainey, is a silly mythological tale; “Suspense,” written by Ian Finley and directed by Kathryn Milliken LeTrent, is a campy Victorian melodrama; and “The Mountain,” created by Todd Buker, Donna Rossi Youngblood, and Carmen-maria Mandley, is a silly story about a clown’s life. But “The Shakespeare Zone,” written by the ensemble and staged with great gusto and wit director Matt Schedler, is a splendid spoof of reality television, TV game shows, commercials, and iconic television series, such as “Law & Order,” “CSI,” etc.
In “Little Boy Love Goat,” Matt Fields as the smitten goat boy Pan passionately pursues Carmen-marie Mandley as Syrinx, while the three Fates (Missy Dapper as Clotho, Ann Forsthoefel as Atropos, and Heather J. Strickland as Laechesis) knit and comment on the rather silly chase that ensues.
“Suspense” is a saucy and quite satisfying Victorian melodrama, performed with brio in high-camp fashion by Olivia Griego as Agatha, Richard Butner as Victor, Seth Blum as Rudolph, and Jessica Heironimus as Emiline. The genius of playwright Ian Finley’s piece, with its O. Henry ending, is that everyone is a potential murder victim and everyone is a suspect.
“The Mountain” is another silly sketch — this time about the life of a clown — and it stars Todd Buker and Carmen-maria Mandley.
But the highlight of the evening is “The Shakespeare Zone,” starring Loren Armitage, Rebecca Blum, Seth Blum, Heather Strickland, Chuck Keith, and Kacey Reynolds Schedler in a series of sidesplitting skits that feature parodies of “The Newlywed Game” with Romeo and Juliet, Petruchio and Kate, and Antony and Cleopatra as contestants; an ad for Lady Macbeth’s Out Damned Spots all-purpose cleanser; a no-holds-barred competition called “Last Clown Standing”; a “Hamlet at Twilight” sketch in which Hamlet’s characters become assume the traits of Twilight’s characters; a “Law & Order” sketch ; a “Good Morning, Sicily” morning show with Beatrice and Benedict and Prospero as the weatherman; and much, much more merriment from an energetic and accomplished ensemble of funny men and women.
SECOND OPINION: Feb. 23rd Durham, NC Independent Weekly review by Byron Woods (who awarded the show 3.5 of 5 stars): http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/bare-theatres-second-annual-collection-of-one-acts/Content?oid=2067629; and Feb. 23rd Raleigh, NC News & Observer review by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/02/23/1007182/one-act-plays-entertain-and-maybe.html. (Note: To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Feb. 17th Triangle Theater Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2011/02/bare-theatre-presents-oh-sht-its-another-evening-of-one-act-plays-at-common-ground-theatre-in-durham/.)
Bare Theatre presents OH SH!T, IT’S ANOTHER EVENING OF ONE-ACT PLAYS at 2 p.m. Feb. 27 at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd., Durham, North Carolina 27705.
TICKETS: $15 ($8 students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel).
BOX OFFICE: 919/386-9571, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/147088.
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