Gail Thomas in her one-woman show, PATIENT 13 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Photo provided by Gail Thomas

Reviewed by Guy Picot

PATIENT 13 is a one-woman show in three acts, written and performed by the impressive Gail Thomas. It starts out as an ostensibly typical New York relationship show, then turns a corner and becomes an ostensibly typical rich-person-with-good-health-insurance cancer show (cue parade of specialists who get swiped left), but ultimately achieves a surprise triumphant finish as a mental health show.  Throughout, Thomas is magnetic and engaging in her intensity and candor. 

Always in motion and in touch with every member of the three-sided audience, Thomas takes us with her on her journey through this difficult terrain. In lesser hands, the material might seem indulgent, but Thomas keeps reminding us of its universality, and that we are all connected. The third act, which gives the show its title, marks a significant change of pace and elevates the piece to unequivocally excellent.

Directed beautifully and unobtrusively by Dan Oliverio, PATIENT 13 is a masterclass in storytelling, and how sometimes, a chair and a stage is all you need.

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