Ask Me Anything
This performance reminds me if an early Fringe performer, Lorraine Bowen, who did something called The Lorraine Bowen Experience. That title might suggest virtuoso electric guitar music, but what Bowen offered instead was a variety show in which her character’s enthusiasm and charm shone through the various glitches in the performance. That was the premise: an underprepared but talented performer trying to get through a bad night. (As was the habit of the Free Press at the time, they sent a reviewer who totally missed the point and instead chastised the performer for glitches that were written into the show.)
People who came to Ask Me Anything expecting a modern-day Dr. Ruth or Sue Johannsen will be disappointed, but, as the program says, Osato’s character “doesn’t have any of the answers.” All the same, the afternoon I saw this production, not everything worked. For instance, I was not sure if Osato deliberately held the mike incorrectly so that her consonants popped, or if she was unaware. Some bits worked very well, like the seemingly incompetent use of PowerPoint, and her engaging stage persona. She drew willing audience participation when she needed it, and her off-the-cuff answers were great.
I should mention that three people walked out of the performance. It’s impossible to know why, but it always surprises me that the people who leave performances always seem to have chosen seats where they cross everyone’s field of vision on the way out. Perhaps these people really disliked the show; perhaps their lunch did not agree with them; perhaps they objected to being asked to chant pro-abortion slogans. Osato handled these ultimate rejections professionally.
Overall, Ask Me Anything went over well with a very well attended afternoon audience. It’s not for everyone, but that is what the Fringe is supposed to be about.