Peter Michael Marino (Desperately Seeking the Exit, Late with Lance!) turns the often vilified clichés of the solo show genre on their clichéd heads. Using an arsenal of Post-it® Notes, Pete transforms the real-life audience experiences into a comedic, vibrant, life-story that’s daring and different each time. You get to control the content, set and sound for this improvised solo show about your tragic life. And there’s a party! ‘Hilarious’ ***** (Front Row Center, NYC)
Picking a show at the Fringe is never easy. Sometimes you go if it’s a performer you know, have heard good press about or because somebody wants you to chum them. Sometimes a poster or a flyer has enough in it to draw you in. Occasionally you’ll get a performer who’s flyering and does such a good pitch that you go and see their show. Peter Michael Marino did that to me yesterday in the street; in around 90 seconds he’d convinced me to take a chance on Show Up and I’m glad I did.
Over the course of an hour, Marino examines what the solo confessional show is about and entails. He’s no stranger to the genre and this performance is sharp, witty and engaging. Instead of dealing with the performer’s hang-ups, neuroses or past failings, the audience is presented with an amalgamation of their own experiences. If anything, it proves you don’t have to be artistic to have a tragic life that can be mined for comedic results. Despite the appearance of being an improvised show, I’d say Show Up is the result of a keen and witty mind who knows how to take different ideas, meld them together and run with the result. I really enjoyed the show and laughed from start to end. I was also pleased to learn that the rest of the audience is even more screwed up and scarred than me, which made me feel good inside.
Do not go and see this show if you want to sit back and have a show fed to you by a straw; this is one you’re going to have to contribute to. However, enter it in the right spirit and you’ll be well rewarded. Marino knows the format and how to play with it, as well as how to judge an audience. If you think you only get what you pay for at the Free Fringe, go and see Show Up and realise how wrong you are.