“Oh Sh!t” Sparkles in “The Shakespeare Zone”

"Oh Sh!t, It's Another Evening of One-Act Plays" ends Feb. 27th
"Oh Sh!t, It's Another Evening of One-Act Plays" ends Feb. 27th

"Oh Sh!t, It's Another Evening of One-Act Plays" ends Feb. 27th
"Oh Sh!t, It's Another Evening of One-Act Plays" ends Feb. 27th

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, boxoffice@baretheatre.org, or https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/147088.

SHOW: http://baretheatre.org/next.html.

PRESENTER: http://www.baretheatre.org/.

VENUE: http://www.cgtheatre.com/.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://www.cgtheatre.com/directions.


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review,a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.comand type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Reviewpreviews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).