Time for another theater review by Katie and Brittany. Look, we do these because the three of us love theater and want to get more people under 50 interested in getting out and seeing something. This review may not do that, but don’t be turned away! Theater can be “dope” and “fresh”! Anyway, here’s their review:
Stage Werx often has fun shows. We can often be bitter. So when we heard about How to Make Your Bitterness Work for You, a solo comedy written and performed by Fred Raker, we figured we should check it out. The small theatre was packed with eager audience members ready to be brought along on this self help guru’s seminar journey. Over drinks after the show we discussed if How to Make Your Bitterness Work for You worked for us…
Katie: That show, and it’s bitterness, wasn’t really working for me. Was it working for you?
Brittany: It was working for me in so far as, I totally believed we were at some sort of a self-help guru talk. But I didn’t know how I had found myself there, because I thought I had gone to see a piece of theatre. Which I understand was the point of the spoof, but I found it equally compelling to a self help guru talk (which is to say not compelling).
K: I wish he had more interaction with the audience. Like when that audience member left, I wish he had called it out, but instead he got really awkward.
B: Right, at least in the portrayals I’ve seen of these sorts of seminars, the self help guru people do shit like making the audience repeat after them. And some of the audience was naturally doing that, and he didn’t react to that audience feedback.
K: I think it was humor and a piece for older folks. The older people in the audience were laughing and having a good time, and then I looked at people closer to our age in their 20s and 30s and they were as lost as we were. Some words that indicated it was humor not meant for us; “Buxom Blonde”. WHO SAYS buxom blonde? “Smarmy,” isn’t that from the 40s or 50s? There were others too.
B: I felt like I was watching something that was written 20 years ago, but then bizarrely he would drop a reference to Facebook or text messaging which seemed totally out of place. Most of the references I did not get, or at least they didn’t resonate with me.
K: The way he said “I wanted to plant a big wet one on her,” it sounded like my grandpa! I mean, not really because my grandpa didn’t speak English, but he’d have said something like that.
B: It felt like he was talking about a mid-life crisis, and was approaching these issues the way a 50+ year old would, which I couldn’t relate to.
K: The older audience, which was 90% of the audience, seemed to really like his impersonations and were laughing a lot. It’s hard to judge this play, because I don’t think it was written for us. He was a very believable self help guru though. He did that well.
The Verdict: How old are you? Over 50? Great, you’ll probably love it. Under 40? Do you have parents in town for a summer visit? Great, take them! It’s totally parent friendly, and they’ll probably think this show’s a “hoot”. Otherwise save the $15.
The Drama Talk: Fred Raker makes an incredibly believable struggling self help guru. If you’re not into self help gurus, you probably won’t like this show. We wish he had gone farther and turned it into a fully interactive seminar, but as it was it fell short for us, especially since much of the humor seemed geared towards an audience born before 1960. If you were born before 1960, or are into self help gurus, and decide to see this show, get there early if you want a good seat. Also, there’s no intermission, so just be prepared to hold it if you decide to get drinks at their adorable concessions nook.
The Drinks: We went to Thieves Tavern and wanted drinks with bitters, to match the bitterness theme of the evening. Katie got a Sazerac. She learned she doesn’t like Sazeracs. Brittany got a Manhattan (for the cherry of course) and remembered that Manhattans are a great way to banish bitterness.