BWW Review: KEEP At Studio Theatre
British comedian Daniel Kitson has a lot of stuff. If you think about it, everyone does. Kitson has done something that no one else has thought of. He spent six and a half months cataloging his entire house to create his "museum of me for me." Every single object from his garden to his pantry, he wrote down on index cards and organized them. Now, Kitson has two hours (without an intermission) to read every single item. This is the setup for Kitson's latest work, Keep., part of Studio Theatre's Studio X series. You go into Keep. thinking that you know what to expect, but then leave surprised.
Keep. makes you think about a lot of things which does make the two hours go by quickly. Kitson really knows work a crowd. At one point, Kitson is primed to orchestrate his card reading and an audience member lets out a sneeze. Kitson quips about how it was timed perfectly and the audience laughs at his remark. Although, his dry humor might not be for everyone. He even gets the laughs from just reading some as simple as, "a brick, a brick, a brick." He doesn't hold anything back (f-bombs fly) and even shares an anecdote about a streaking audience member at one of his early stand-up shows.
Keep. isn't just funny. It makes you think. He initially starts off saying that he is going to talk about his possessions without letting on about his past. As the performance continues, the expected structure of Keep. gives way to chaos. Kitson begins to reflect on the memories and emotions associated with his possessions. Short quirky and delightful stories, such as how he found a camera in New York City and spent time trying to find the owner, begin to come to light. Everything suddenly becomes a metaphor (or at least you start to think it is). The jam jars aren't necessarily jam jars anymore. The certificate from Harry Ramsden's isn't just a certificate. It's a reminder of what he had and what he might not have in the future.
Within the show is a mystery - someone has intervened with Kitson's cards. But who? As time passes, Kitson becomes more obsessed with figuring out why this person has decided to make things out of order. This adds a bit of intrigue and can keep you guessing until you aren't sure if this person is also supposed to be a metaphor or if they even exist at all.
Keep. is experimental as it doesn't just test Kitson, but it also tests the audience. Just as it builds up what it is - it tears it down again. After all, sometimes "jam jars are just jam jars."
Running time: 2 hours with no intermission