Lindsey is in love with a rock. Yes, an actual rock. More specifically, a rock that’s made up of many other rocks encased in concrete. Yes, actually in love. As she says herself while gently caressing the object of her affection: “I want to eat it. I want to fuck it. I want to be it.” Thus begins the irresistibly quirky and uniquely funny journey of Horse People, written and performed by Lindsey Griffith.
Loving a rock isn’t easy to process. And Lindsey, it seems, has lost it. She’s rolling on the floor with the overwhelming awesomeness of it all. Several times it gets to be all too much, and she needs to excuse herself to hug a wall with her back to us and just breathe for a second before coming back with even more kinetic energy than before. It’s clear that Lindsey is off-kilter. But, why?
Through encounters with her mom and grandmother (all played by Griffith), the show traces Lindsey’s neurosis through her maternal line back to her grandmother’s mother, the titular horse person, whose claim to fame was as the back-end of a tap dancing equine on the vaudeville circuit.
What happens when your great grandmother is, quite literally, a horse’s ass? Does it seep down and spoil future generations? Her mom, who we meet via video, is vapid, egocentric and fixated on horses. Meanwhile, Grandma’s not really that interested in her granddaughter’s odd behavior. She’s too busy turning a supposedly relaxing knitting habit into a compulsive Jane Fonda-style workout. Lindsey, like her beloved rock made from smaller rocks, is made up of bits and pieces of these women who came before her, all stuck together to make something offbeat but beautiful in its own way.
closes July 22, 2018
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It’s obvious that Griffith is having so much fun. She attacks these characters with a goofy likeability reminiscent of a millennial Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They’re all convincingly damaged, but sparkle with charm. The costumes, also by Griffith, are a character all their own. With her googly eyes, curly blond-grey wig and ever present glass of wine, Mom looks like a demented Amy Sedaris. Grandma is covered in yarn from her grey knitted wig to her half-finished jumpsuit with the knitting needles still hanging off of it. I won’t give it away, but the surprise costume at the end is pitch-perfect and so funny.
The ending of Horse People came abruptly and too soon. I wished it would go on a little longer to explore the effect of the final scene on all of the characters. But, as I exited the performance space, every person in the tiny audience was smiling and excitedly chatting about what they’d just seen. If that isn’t a good reason to take a chance on an unknown Fringe show, I don’t know what is.
Horse People written and performed by Lindsey Griffith. Directed by: Julia Katz. Music composed by: Bobby Ellis. Set, costumes and props by: Lindsey Griffith. Presented at Capital Fringe 2018 . Reviewed by Amy Couchoud.