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Comedy Sat Feb 04 2012

Review: Come On! We're All Adults! @ The Annoyance Theatre

Patrick Raynor in Come On! We're All Adults!.jpg

Directed by Joe Avella, local improviser Patrick Raynor's one-man show at the Annoyance Theatre, Come On! We're All Adults!, is a collection of solo pieces (with a couple guest appearances by Nat Topping) mostly featuring characters in absurd situations.

Starting off with a scene of a newscaster launching into increasingly specific tangents about the local community, the show jumps from one character to the next, ranging from a South Dakota man trying to win his love back at the airport, to a substitute dry cleaner manager who can't stop talking about his weight loss.

One-man shows are tricky, because the person in question has to create a character, a setting, interact with imaginary characters on stage, and drive the plot with their words and actions. Unfortunately, I don't think Raynor fully pulled these things off. Part of this was due to several scenes that either didn't have an strong comedic build-up and release or went on for a little too long. Raynor's overall delivery and tone of voice between scenes and characters was indistinguishable, and he seemed to rush through many of his characters' lines to the point where I couldn't understand what he was saying in a couple places. Although it may sound like a contradiction, most of the scenes could have been shorter, but Raynor's actual recitation of lines within them could been slower-paced to better embody the characters.

On the plus side, Raynor had great physical comedy and gestures, and the lighting and sound were very well-done. I particularly enjoyed his solo lovemaking scene, which I felt played to all of these strengths. Another scene I really enjoyed involved a father looking for his daughter at a movie theater, because he successfully created the visual of the setting, props, and other character in my head better than in other scenes.

My favorite scene was Raynor's story about his dad's reaction to his decision to leave Nebraska for Chicago. Although this was a sketch show, it reminded me of the stand-up comedy formula: a long, tension-building set-up told in the first-person, followed by a hilarious payoff. However, because that very personal scene was so different from the sketch-based scenes of the rest of the performance, it seemed tacked on within the context of Come On! We're All Adults! as a whole.

Overall, Patrick Raynor had some good ideas, but tweaking a few subtleties here and there could have gone a long way towards making the show tighter.

Come On! We're All Adults! runs Wednesdays at 9:30pm through February 22 at The Annoyance Theatre (4830 N Broadway). Tickets are $10.

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