Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Reviews: ACT's Three Quirky ONE ACTS Feels Like One Too Many in Total

In my opinion One Act plays are an underutilized form in the theatrical world. Too short to take up an entire evening's entertainment and so they get overlooked. Thankfully ACT has chosen not to shy away from the form with their current offering, "An Evening of One Acts" and has even chosen works by some iconic American authors. And while the evening was loaded with quirky fun, two of the one acts felt as if they could have ended a few times over and ran a bit long. But let's start at the top.

Patter for the Floating Lady by Steve Martin

Jessica Skerritt and David Foubert in
Patter for the Floating Lady
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

For the first offering they could have done much worse than a Steve Martin piece. In fact, for my money you can do much worse than an entire evening of Martin with his askew look at the world which always results in hilarity. In "Patter for the Floating Lady" a magician (David Foubert) explains to us his act and how it's sure to woo his love Angie (Jessica Skerritt) providing the mysterious interloping assistant (Hana Lass) doesn't get in the way. All three actors have a complete grasp on the comedic timing of the piece but also that quirky Martin style of talking about one thing but conveying something completely different. And it's this one that completely worked for me and get's a YAY from me with my three letter rating system. Unfortunately it went downhill from there.

Riverside Drive by Woody Allen

Chris Ensweiler and Eric Ray Anderson in
Riverside Drive
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

I don't think I've heard of too many people who are so so on Woody Allen. You either love him or you could do without him. And I'll admit I am in the latter category. His neurotic style just wears on me after awhile and becomes repetitive. Even so, "Riverside Drive" had quite a lot of clever patter not to mention some stunningly timed performances going for it which made it doable as we watch author Jim (Chris Ensweiler), attempt to deal with homeless man Fred (Eric Ray Anderson) as Fred attempts to extort money from Jim for Jim's new hit screenplay which Fred said he stole from his life. And to make matters worse, Jim is about to meet his mistress Barbara (Skerritt) to break it off with her and Fred is all too happy to help out. Again, nothing against the performers and in fact kudos to Ensweiler and Anderson for some amazingly lightning fast banter, but the play feels long winded like it ends a few times over making it work only half as well as its predecessor. For that I give it a MEH+.

The Unseen Hand by Sam Shepard

Eric Ray Anderson and Hana Lass in The Unseen Hand
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

Here's where they lost me as Shepard's "The Unseen Hand" just felt pointless and quirky for quirky sake. Let's see if I can even explain it. Homeless drifter Blue (Anderson) encounters alien (outer space alien that is) refugee Willie (Lass) who enlists his help to coordinate a coup to retake his home world and free his people. And the two are joined by Blue's dead brothers Cisco and Sycamore (Foubert and Ensweiler) as well as a hysterical cheerleader (Quinn Armstrong) who's been hazed, whipped, pants and left on the side of the road by some rowdy footballers from his school. And the five of them attempt to device a highly cerebral plan to overthrow the Unseen Hand that controls Willie and his people. It's clever and somewhat interesting but quickly gets overly convoluted into its own quirkiness and again, feels like it ends several times over. Still nothing but admiration for the performances but even they can only do so much which is why this one gets a plain old MEH from me.

So when all is tallied up we have a YAY, a MEH+ and a MEH which I'll average into an overall MEH+ for the evening. And unfortunately for me the strongest started off the evening and you should always end on the best note.

"An Evening of One Acts" performs at ACT through August 10th. For tickets or information contact the ACT box office at 206-292-7676 or visit them online at www.acttheatre.org.

TodayTix Extension


From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)


Review: CLOUD TECTONICS from Sound Theatre Company And EarthseedReview: CLOUD TECTONICS from Sound Theatre Company And Earthseed
September 25, 2022

Dear Readers, I am a sucker for both a sweet love story and even more so when we mix in a little magical realism. Movies like “Amelie” or plays like “O Lovely Glowworm, or Scenes of Great Beauty” are some of my favorites. So, something like Jose Rivera’s “Cloud Tectonics”, currently playing at 12th Avenue Arts from Sound Theatre Company and Earthseed, should be right up my alley. And while I find it a sweet little love story, I have to emphasize the “little”. There’s not a whole lot to it. But then, that works well since it's only an intermissionless 90 minutes.

Review: THE GRISWOLDS' BROADWAY VACATION at The 5th Avenue TheatreReview: THE GRISWOLDS' BROADWAY VACATION at The 5th Avenue Theatre
September 23, 2022

The Griswolds’ have been to Wally World, they’ve visited family for Christmas, and they’ve nearly destroyed Europe on their vacations. And now, they’ve loaded up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and are hitting Broadway in the new musical at the 5th Avenue Theatre, “The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation”. Are the Griswolds ready for Broadway? No. And by the Griswolds’ I mean the characters as well as this show. But just like the Griswolds the show does grow and with a little bit of work (or a lot of work) they and it just might make it on the Great White Way.

Review: CHOIR BOY at ACT TheatreReview: CHOIR BOY at ACT Theatre
September 22, 2022

Dear Readers, I’m going to set the “Way Back Machine” to 2011 where I was first introduced to the works of playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney as the Seattle Rep had produced his stunning “The Brothers Size”, a show that hit me so hard in the gut that I think about it to this day. And while I was still reeling from it in 2012, he presented his astounding “Choir Boy” at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Eventually it made its way to Broadway in 2019 to a huge outpouring of critical acclaim. Sadly, I missed that run but then ACT announced they would be bringing it to Seattle … in 2020. Yup, you guessed it. It didn’t happen then thanks to the pandemic. But now, thanks to the theatre gods, ACT, in conjunction with the 5th Avenue Theatre, have made good on their promise of presenting this amazing work and let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Village TheatreReview: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Village Theatre
September 18, 2022

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s “Little Shop of Horrors” is arguably one of those near perfect musicals. I will argue with you on this from now until the plants take over the earth as it remains my absolute favorite. But it needs to be done right. That’s not to say it needs to be done the same way every time. One of the best productions I saw was a modern retelling set in a real skid row. But this B-movie sci-fi adaptation needs to have that humor, that crispness, and that bite to make it work. And while the current production from Village Theatre has some wonderful performances and voices, it suffers from a lack of pace and that crispness and bite to take it from a fun show to a killer one.

Review: WHERE WE BELONG at Seattle RepReview: WHERE WE BELONG at Seattle Rep
September 15, 2022

The history of colonization of indigenous lands in this country and other countries is a sensitive subject that many shy away from. But then to look at it from the viewpoint of those that have been displaced goes a long way to recognizing the issues and keep them from continuing. Madeline Sayet and her amazing play “Where We Belong”, currently playing at the Seattle Rep gives a wonderful insight into this topic and specifically her viewpoint and how it affected her and her Mohegan culture.