Reviewed by Heather Dowling
Look, I love me some Oscar Wilde, but I experience a gag reflex every time I see the cliché meme quote, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” You too? Then you will totally appreciate Alexandra Ryan’s very funny, honest and sometimes painful one-person show, WILL THE REAL ME PLEASE STAND UP?
Initially, you think you’re going to see a familiar story about the existential struggles of a performer trying to “make it” – and it seems like it’ll be a very fun ride. Then Alexandra’s co-stars – the internal coping mechanisms she’s created to survive – show up to give us a real look at her life. Survive what? Her parents’ divorce that split her into two, “like a tree struck by lightning,” her father’s unrequited love, incredibly complex sibling dynamics, and the death of her first true love.
The show is raw, vulnerable, and incredibly self-aware but not at all sympathy seeking. Instead, it’s delivered with much humor – she even reveals that laughter is her “safety indicator” – but that only makes the jokes more meta and meaningful. Set in a very simple stage picture, she delivers technically subtle, but very clear characterizations, highlighting her impressive and multifaceted talents as a performer and Juliette Jeffers’ skill as a director.
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