Posted on Jul 23, 2013
5 out of 5
I was crabby and tired when I took my place in line at The Fishtank for “An Evening of Alli Jordan”: a late evening at the end of a long, hot, humid day. But by the time I left, my mind was blown.
I stayed crabby for a while. The playwright — the eponymous Alli — stood up to introduce the evening, and told us she’s got a couple of works in progress, it’s different every night, she wants the audience’s feedback... She names the two shows we’ll hear that, and who’ll be in them; but I can’t really make everything out: like I said — crabby and tired, and hearing-challenged to boot.
Several of The Fishtank’s talented and dedicated “Fishterns” (summer interns and acting apprentices) take the stage: Marianne McKenzie (as — surprise! — a playwright in the second piece), Jenny Ward, Jenny Watts, and Tim Wilkinson. Director Bryan Moses sat in for Forrest Attaway, who was apparently double-booked in the crowded Fringe schedule, but made it there later.
The script-in-hand reading starts with a first piece filled with literary references: Wilkinson’s Scottish accent fits his Shakespearian lines, and I wish I knew more about “Little Women,” because that was there too. He’s tossing lines off with his girlfriend, until a “cranky bitch” arrives to buy books off their shelves. There’s moving involved, but frankly I wasn’t. It was the second piece that really engaged me. It’s somewhat self-referential, but there’s something about it that really drew me in. I don’t want to give much away, but I wound up thinking this one’s a work of genius.
Of course, our playwright-host has warned us that this show will be different every night. Who knows what will happen when you show up? But there’s something about the chemistry among this company that makes me think you’ll end up having your mind blown like mine was. It’s a gamble, of course, but if you like taking a theatrical risk that could being a big pay-off, you really ought to book “An Evening of Alli Jordan.”
This is my personal must-see in the 2013 Fringe line-up. But now I’ve seen it, so I’ll stay away and leave one more seat for you: get your ticket in advance if you can, and line up early!