Addison — Paraphrasing, “I just named it that so you’d come and see the show.” And therein lies the thesis statement of Jeff Colangelo’s Playing With Myself: An Exercise in Narcissism, presented by the SiKH Brothers. The overriding theme of the show is something around the subject of authenticity.
Which Jeff Colangelo is authentic. The one on stage, or the one off stage?
There are two ways to look at the performance. It’s either an incredible soul-bearing glimpse into the soul of a young artist, or a faux provocateur hungry for attention. What makes the performance work, more or less, is that the answer to that question isn’t easy to decipher.
The show is a series of bits, each ending with a punctuated exclamation of “Thank you!” accompanied by his own clap. Many of the bits are funny, but some occasionally swing near something authentic and meaningful only to be cut just short by the aforementioned exclamation.
At first this is really annoying. And there are too many of the “thank you!” moments in the show. But, Colangelo hammers home the point of his constantly frustrating and often fake-feeling showmanship when he turns the mirror on himself and has it out between the real and fake Jeff. (His skill as a fight choreographer really shines through here.)
Or something like that. It’s a bit confusing and disjointed. The show could benefit from some focus and honing. There’s some really great stuff buried in what’s sometimes a messy hodgepodge of bits.
That said, Colangelo is on to something. And he’ll never be able to develop it further without support. So, show up for a few laughs and some navel gazing self-reflection. Those not in the performance world may not identify with the deeper meaning, but it’s still funny.
» Playing With Myself: An Exercise in Narcissism repeats at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 9 in the Studio Theatre 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.