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Theatre Reviews

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.