By Tulis McCall
I saw “One Woman Show” a few days after I saw “Just For Us” and although the two were directed by the late Adam Brace, they could not be more different.
Let us cut to the chase – I am probably in the minority here, but I had no idea what was going on for the entire 70 minutes. Normally in situations like this the reviewer gets a script, and from it I can piece together what I probably missed. No such luck here, so I am on my own.
“One Woman Show” tries very hard, too hard, to be obscure and at the same time give us a chance to be in on the joke that fails to ever get off the ground. I don’t want to go into the details and spoil anything for those of you venturing out to the Greenwich House Theatre on Barrow Street. Suffice to say that the idea here is an actor (Liz Kingsman) putting together a one woman show that she is hoping will be picked up by a TV producer. We are the workshop audience.
The show is a random collection of thoughts that guide Kingsman through school days into a day job and what all else – not sure. The thoughts never congeal and head off in a unified direction. this is possibly the point of the piece. That Ms. Kingsman’s character is just another self absorbed actor who is untethered to the planet and is cheeky enough to believe that taping herself will be of some value if only she can get the product into the right hands. In order for that to happen, however, Kingsman needs us to be on board. Sad to say I never made it there.
In addition there is some difficulty in hearing Ms. Kingsman. I was seated in the front row. and the stage is set about 3 feet higher. This makes for awkward viewing and possibly hearing. I did, however, flash on Emma Thompson and imagined that if she were the woman in the show every consonant and vowel would have been clear as crystal.
Ms. Kingsman does a fine job playing several characters, although we could have done with fewer character gestures. (This is a tool actors use to distinguish one character from another. Each character has a signature gesture so you know who is speaking.) These drew my attention away from the tale and into observing but not listening to the characters. And not for nuthin’ but it sook me almost an hour to figure out that one character was rolling a joint (this could be a help to you future viewers).
Ms. Kingsman received wildly positive reviews in London. This makes sense as in some ways this seems like a very particular kind of British humor. A lot of talking oneself into a frothy bit of a situation and then letting everything topple onto the floor. The humor is in the toppling. Very Monty Python. In this case the tale never toppled because, for this viewer, and starting with the title itself, this show lacked the precision and defining point of view that makes so much British humor click.
Not my cuppa, I’m afraid.
ONE WOMAN SHOW, written and performed byLiz Kingsman, Directed by Adam Brace
Choreographer Joshua Lay, Designer Chloe Lamford, Lighting Designer Daniel Carter Brennan, Sound Designer Max Perryment
Tickets to One Woman Show are available from $42–$109, HERE . The regular playing schedule for One Woman Show is: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 7:00PM; Wednesdays at 6:30PM & 9:15PM; Saturdays at 6:00 PM & 9:00 PM. The schedule is subject to change so visit the website for the most up-to-date information. Through August 11, 2023.