Let’s all give a nice big “welcome home!” to prodigal son Zack Myers, a locally-born multi-talent currently based out of Miami. Myers is currently camped out on the fringes of Fringe in the basement of MLK library, where’s he’s presenting a solo show about influential improv comic Del Close, and doing so with a lot of talent, craft and heart. It’s the funniest show I’ve seen at Fringe so far.
Close, best known for creating long form improv techniques that are used to this day and having a hand in companies such as Second City, Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, and Saturday Night Live, is an inspired choice for a biographic show, and Myers has the chops to pull off Close’s grandiosity and whip-crack mood changes. I also enjoyed how dark he is willing to take his material.
Less a biography and more a series of absurdist character sketches, YES, And… finds a youngish Close on the verge of starting his own theatre company, about to take his own life via poison, an act we will learn has connection to his abusive relationship with his father. Myers’ tactic here is to give an impression of Close’s giant personality and mental instability.
Written and performed by Zach Myers
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Ironically there’s little to no actual improvisation in this play about an improvisor. Occasionally the show flirts with audience interaction but the brief moments don’t come to much, and sometimes the audience did not know whether they were really supposed to respond or not. This was especially true at the very end of the play, the staging of which probably needs to be reconsidered to avoid confusion in the future. Myers’ natural charm was enough to keep even this moment from being a major strike against it.
They say that going to a show at the Capital Fringe is a bit of a crap shoot, quality can vary wildly. You pay your money and you take your chances. But the same can be said about producing a show in the festival. Myers has found himself in tiny basement room at the MLK Jr. Library, far from the main bustle of Fringe, but he and director Jeff Quintana have squeezed every drop of style and technical possibility out the minimal set, lights and sounds. Making this kind of lemonade speaks volumes for the teams dedication to their audience and craft. YES, AND… is the most pleasant surprise of this year’s festival.
YES, And… Written and Performed by Zack Myers; Director: Jeff Quintana; Stage Manager: Richard Greenberg. Reviewed by Ryan Taylor.