Just Say Blow Me, Trap Door Theatre. Everyone who thinks comedy is easy should catch Susan Mele and Leah Ryan’s one-woman show, performed by Mele. It’s packed with every comic approach imaginable–satire, sarcasm, observational humor, character-based comedy–and none of it works, not even the foray into gross-out humor: one whole monologue is built around a woman getting diarrhea every time she shops.
The show’s premise is that we’re seeing attendees at an annoying New Age seminar, but Mele and Ryan soon jettison this idea, introducing characters unrelated to the setting.
An even bigger problem than the unstable structure, however, is that Mele doesn’t have the chops to handle her own material. Her acting is primitive at best: not a single character is totally convincing despite the army of wigs, dresses, and assorted props she calls into service. Worse, Mele has only the most rudimentary idea of how to make comedy fly. Usually she just flails away, her eyes bulging, her hands waving, shouting her punch lines and running from one end of the stage to the other in the vain hope that the bigger she is, the funnier she’ll be. This is the Jerry Lewis fallacy–and it doesn’t work any better for Mele than it did for him. –Jack Helbig