Addison — Jenn Dodd is funny. And so are her psychic cousin, her artsy producer and her super-Southern Baptist spouse-seeking aunt. In fact all the characters in No Show: A One Woman Show are entertaining. And they’re all played by Dodd, in a production that’s one of the noteworthy offerings in this year’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival.
The premise of the production is simple. A struggling artist decides to put on a one-woman show. Said artist panics on opening night because she doesn’t think she has any material to perform. She goes missing some time after the curtain is set to rise, leaving her director, the stage manager, and various other characters to jump in to keep the audience entertained. Meanwhile, the hunt is on to find the MIA leading lady so that the show can go on.
Co-written by Dodd, Ben Hill and Tom Lorenzo, No Show is fast-paced and very entertaining. It avoids potential slow spots by employing a simulated Facetime video to fill the moments when Dodd is changing clothes to appear as another character. Director Katie Hartman has integrated the video, as well as musical interludes to maintain a high energy atmosphere throughout. The show originated in New York, which Dodd calls home, and is making its first appearance in Texas.
The play touches on everything from the purpose of art, the power of feminism and the challenge of being a successful performer. There are even a few fart jokes to round things out. In short, Dodd gently mocks the portentous aura of performance art while treating the audience to an example of how the genre can work.
According to her bio, Dodd is an Andy Kaufman Award finalist. The award “honors Andy Kaufman's creative spirit while simultaneously shining a spotlight on promising performers with the potential to impact the evolving culture of comedy.” Though certainly not as disturbingly original as Kaufman, Dodd is a fresh voice with a strong ability to create believable characters. She switches easily between a Southern drawl, a nasal Long Island drone and a pompously theatrical tone as she embodies different women during the performance.
Some of the characters are funnier than others but Dodd’s level of commitment makes No Show a real pleasure to watch; she packs a lot of material and some great jokes into 80 minutes. In one decidedly absurd sequence, she slowly and silently eats a sandwich, after informing the audience that it’s art. It could be a risky moment, but Dodd’s concentration allows her to bring the audience along with her.
» No Show: A One Woman Show repeats 2 p.m. Saturday, March 8; and 5 p.m. Sunday, March 9 in the Studio Theatre of the Addison Theatre Centre
» WaterTower Theatre's 2014 Out of the Loop Fringe Festival is 10 days of live theater, dance, music and visual art. To see the full schedule, go here.