Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tales from the Fringe: 52 Man Pickup

Posted By on Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 2:12 PM

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The L's Mary Block continues to sample with gusto from the buffet that is the Fringe Festival, dampening her paper plate with the sweet sweet mingled sauces of alternative theater. What? Huh. Here is a review.

The Fringe Festival committee picked a great location for Desiree Burch's bawdy comedic manifesto, 52 Man Pickup. The crimson velvet, lazy ceiling fans and yellow humidity of the Jazz Gallery reverberate around Burch's fecund performance while Fringe darling and friend Daniel Ajl Kitrosser sways and lilts on the piano. Burch saunters in sucking on a red lollypop; a corset barely containing her ripe frame is enough to inspire a complete Miltonian meltdown.

Her effect on her audience is intoxicating. Last night Burch coaxed a reluctant Dutchman and an Obama campaigner up on stage to impersonate an ersatz Schwarzenegger and a swaggering pizza guy, two of the 52 characters that populate her romantic past and her show. They probably would've done whatever she wanted at that point, though: the vulnerability and real hurt that underlie every achingly funny anecdote invoke a fervent empathy for Desiree Burch. After each performance, a good portion of the audience accepts her invitation to join her at a bar and help her find a decent guy.

52 Man Pickup is raunchy and fast-paced, unrelentingly funny and terribly honest. Desiree Burch commands the room before she enters it — her performance is the sort that can occupy an audience's thoughts for days. The show has the energy of first-rate standup comedy but stays poignant and truthful until the last moment, when Desiree loosens her fast grip on every person in the room.

52 Man Pickup
Fringe festival Venue #6: The Jazz Gallery
Remaining Performances: 8/20 @5:30, 8/21 @10, 8/23@3

Performance photo by Chris Kelly.

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