Reviewed by Matt Ritchey
Playwright Matthew Robinson and producing partner Robbie DeVillez have done some great shows over past Fringes – Blackballed, Mary’s Medicine, Politically Challenged, – and all of them have had some insightful themes and important things to say. This year, those themes are wrapped in a crazy, funny, and insightful post-apocalyptic world in Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse.
Vick Montgomery (Sean-Michael Bowles) is a neophyte actor who agrees to take a year “off” by subjecting himself to a scientific experiment where he will be in asleep for one year – for cash, naturally. Also availing herself of the experiment is famous actress Ava O’Sullivan (Emilie Martz) who is doing this less for the pocket change and more for the respite – seems she’s got a new scandal she’d like to avoid for a while. Well, one year accidentally becomes a LOT of years and the two wake up in the distant post-apocalyptic future where there are two major religious factions – those who worship Olivia Wilde, and those who worship Beyonce.
And now that the evil leader of the Olivia Wilde cult (Francesca Manzi) has captured the two out-of-timers, she has plans for them – the masses need entertainment and so the two of them will put on a production of the great Wilde play The Importance of Being Earnest. Seems if your name is Wilde, you’re clearly related to anyone else of that name.
With some tried-and-true gags about putting on shows and some deep political insight – the theme being, we all merely have the “illusion” of choice rather than real options – Olivia Wilde is fun, funny, had a brilliant prayer to the Bey, and is well worth a visit. The deft direction of DeVillez moves the show along well and the choice to juxtapose the apocalyptic show with scene change underscore of classical music is inspired. Just don’t drink the cockmilk. (No I won’t explain that. But you should find out for yourself.)
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