The headshot on the cover of the press kit for Jolie Jalbert's AA:Actor's Anonymous says it all: a forlorn, wistful-looking actress stares out at the viewer; the (obviously made-up) name pre-printed in the lower-left-hand corner is Kumsie R. Sho.
Actors are a breed apart from the rest of the world, and Jalbert has written a hilarious "skituation comedy" that skewers them all with truthful affection. One might gripe that it is all too "in" to be completely successful, and that there are very real problems with the structure (particularly the resolution) of the piece, but those reservations seem like carping. For all but the last two minutes of the 40 minute work, it was a laugh-out-loud funfest of accurately pointed comic darts whizzing gleefully into their targets, beautifully directed by Gibson Frazier and beautifully played by one of the best ensembles of neurotics ever gathered on one small stage. Particularly outstanding were Jalbert herself as a reluctant actress, Brooke Marie Procida (her bird impression was a riotous highlight), Lorenzo Catlett as a jerky jock, Mary Holstrom as an oh-so-sincere casting agent and Heather Aldridge as a housewife who left her husband and dead child in Illinois to become an actress in New York (her introduction speech was another convulsively funny moment, as was her uninhibited karaoke singing to Flashdance).
Anyone unfamiliar with the very special, very insular world of show business might find it all a little too bizarre and over-the-top, sort of like a non-Catholic's response to Christopher Durang's Sister Mary Ignatius..., but that would be to miss the point. It is bizarre and over-the-top, just like the world it so merrily lampoons. And very, very funny. Good show, Kumsie.
(Also featuring Kevin Flynn, J. Todd Howell, Daphna
Gold, Shannon King Cave, Dawn Litel Murphy.
Lighting & design direction: Amelia Amy Fowler. Costumes
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Copyright 2001 Doug DeVita