Addison — Beware of Plastics, presented by Actors Conservatory Theatre, is a collection of monologues by its cast of teenage girls loosely based around stories of their lives.
Directed by Christopher Hartman, and with the help of writing advisor Christine Donaldson, performers Hannah Barnetez-Widmer, Simone Brazzini, Arden Claire Coates, Ivy Beth Coates, Briee Daniels, Colleen McCarthy and Rachel Smith act as if they’re in a schmaltzy ABC Family show even though they’re clearly talking about subjects very personal to them.
Granted, they’re young, but one has to question the extent of the direction beyond where to go, when. The range goes between a slight lilt to a slight raise of the voice. It’s narrow. Because of that, the pieces tend towards the bland and run together, obscuring their cohesiveness.
There’s plenty of potential on the stage, but it doesn’t quite manifest in this show.
If the first show in this double feature was the beginners, then Audacity Theatre Lab’s Robert’s Eternal Goldfish is the master. Created and performed by Brad McEntire, he plays Charlemagne Roberts, a man filled with hate.
He begins by recounting a tale of a snorkeling excursion gone wrong. This lays the groundwork for his generally negative outlook towards life. However, after a chance and tragic encounter with his polar mood opposite, a particularly cheerful young woman, Roberts finds himself buying a goldfish in tribute to her.
Of course, being such a sad sack, Roberts soon grows tired of the rich and flushes it. But, there’s something wrong. This fish doesn’t seem to die.
One of McEntire’s many talents is being able to couch very real meditations on life into extraordinary stories. this show allows him to flash his bad boy side with hilarious ends. Normally a very pleasant man, it’s a lot of fun to see McEntire main and complain about everything. His commitment to the role is believable and laugh inducing. Yet, when it’s all said and done, both Roberts and the audience learn a little something.
This double feature performance is a strange pairing. The shows have nothing in common and represent a huge gap in talent and experience. That said, it’s worth giving the girls of Beware of Plastics a chance, if only to get to the awesome Roberts’ Eternal Goldfish.
» The double bill of Beware of Plastics and Robert's Eternal Goldfish repeats at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8; and 5 p.m. Sunday, March 9 in the Stone Cottage at 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.