W.S. Jenks & Son
Remaining performances (tickets available here):
Friday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at 3:45 p.m. Sunday, July 19 at 9 p.m. Friday, July 24 at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, July 26 at 3:30 p.m.
They say: A witty cabaret exploring the characters in our everyday (imaginations), featuring interviews with dozens of characters including siblings of dictators, little white-liars and people who Instagram food. 60+ characters, but only one senior citizen. Live improvisational musical accompaniment.
Andrew’s take: You’d be hard-pressed to find a lower-key Fringe show than Interviews With…, a cabaret-style series of one-liner vignettes in which the cast of four assumes various personas. The performers announce each new scene simultaneously, glancing at each other to make sure all are on the same page. They break frequently. They grin sheepishly when jokes land—and when they don’t.
But hey, sometimes a pleasant, inoffensive night with friends is the way to go, and that’s absolutely the vibe playwright Emily Cohen (with contributions from Daniel Gutstein) is going for. Cohen also performs, and her three castmates, Patrick Slevin, Beth Krause, and Rajan Kapoor, are all amiable and game to show off their accent repertoires. We get the expected bits (“People Who Instagram Food”) and the more absurd (“Osama Bin Laden’s Widows”). A particularly biting segment takes on opera: Among the show’s “ladies in waiting,” it seems, there’s an unspoken rule you’ll probably wind up with a Duke’s hand on your ass.
Jokes land about half the time, as you’d expect from something resembling a college improv club. The direction, by Brett Abelman, will be familiar to anyone who’s had to mime something ridiculous in a drama class before: Four chairs get pushed into all kinds of formations, and the performers often contort themselves so as to resemble inanimate objects, like spoons. (Note: Abelman also reviews shows for Fringeworthy; he had no input into this review.)
The improvisational music group Rogue Collective, whose lineup will change show to show, scores the show with ambiance and wit (a “Super Mario” riff followed a Donkey Kong joke), and the show makes a nice gesture by briefly bringing the musicians onstage midway through. Interviews ends with another softball lob that I’ve already forgotten, and then we shuffle off—a few minutes behind schedule, but no worse for the wear.
See it if: You’ve been waiting for someone to finally stick it to toll booth operators.
Skip it if: Seeing performers giggling onstage offends your delicate sensibilities.
Photo courtesy of School of Hard Equinox