Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Fringe 2011 Review: Em O’Loughlin

Posted by metaphorical on 18 August 2011

Em O’Loughlin was a BIG FATTY BOOMBAH!

1h 0m
VENUE #16: Players Theatre
Performance seen: Tue 16 @ 6:45
Remaining performances: Thu 18 @ 9:45 Wed 24 @ 3:30 Sat 27 @ 9:45

Rating: 3
(using the BroadwayWorld rating system of 10=effusive praise; 9=excellent; 7/8=positive with some reservations; 5/6=respectfully unenthused; 3/4=mostly negative; 2=little to recommend; 1=offended, insulted, angered)

As an entertainer, Em O’Loughlin is a triple-threat: She wasn’t funny, she wasn’t interesting, and she offered no insights into herself, obesity, or any other aspect of the human condition.

Instead, she skips through her life as a fat person, stopping every five or ten years, noting on a large pad the year and her weight in pounds, kilograms, and stone. No real milestones, but there are stones.

O’Loughlin does have a performer’s heart, a strong stage presence, and a nice singing voice, though the last quality surfaced only through a parody line or three of about seven different songs. And I’ll readily note that there was a fair amount of laughter from the audience.

Toward the end of the show, she remarks that at 40 she had her first boyfriend. I would have been more interested to hear what it was like to try to get stage work as a 300-pound woman, if indeed she did, or what it was like to first try to get stage work at 40, if she didn’t.

What, in other words, was it like for all that raw performing talent—which unfortunately doesn’t translate into writing talent—to be bottled up in a 300-pound jar? It’s a mark of how poorly written this show is that after an hour of insipid and self-indulgent autobiography, we have no idea.

[more fringe 2011 reviews here]

4 Responses to “Fringe 2011 Review: Em O’Loughlin”

  1. Em O'Loughlin said

    How pleasant it is to remain anonymous and in the darkness of the audience where you can sit with your demons. You are an angry soul and patently bitter. Let me know when you are going to get onstage and bare some of your soul and I will happily attend and tear strips off you. Do your job. Report what actually happened and stop being so one dimensional.

  2. David said

    Dear metaphorical,

    I was an audience member . In the first sentence you said ” she wasn’t funny” , then quoted ” And I’ll readily note that there was a fair amount of laughter from the audience ” 3 paragraphs down ?

    I have to agree with Emily’s response above. It appears you would have preferred a much more morbid account of her life. That’s fine . Each to their own.

    However the rest of us ( being my friends and I ) much prefer the lightness of Em’s tale , interjected with heart felt stories and humor .

    We thoroughly enjoyed the show .

    We heard about Em’s show from another review ( backstage ). My mother read the shows review in nytheatre.com

    Those critics seem to have a much better handle.

    Calm blue oceans metaphorical…. Calm blue oceans

  3. Interesting, albeit unresponsive, comments. I laughed exactly once in an hourlong show, but apparently now I’m asked to apologize for my fairness in noting that others in audience laughed more. I wished I had laughed more, but somehow David, who is obsessed with my consistency but apparently not his own, thinks I wanted a more morbid show.

    Em, this blog has an About page in which I tell all about myself and even list my e-mail address, how does that count as anonymity?

    I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree about whether my job is to “report what actually happened.” A reviewer is not a reporter. My job is to watch a show and let it have an aesthetic reaction upon me. I then summon my what understanding of theatre I have to try to find things about the show that would explain and justify the reaction. If I can’t, I question the reaction, and probably pass on reviewing the show.

    On this occasion, I found quite a few reasons for my reaction. I explained them in my review. What I didn’t find in either of the comments here is any disagreement with those reasons. That makes them hard not to dismiss.

  4. Sean said

    I’ve seen Emily in Australia and I have to agree that she badly needs new material. She’s been doing the exact same show for many years and requires a writer to freshen it up and get new material that actually IS funny – at the moment it’s really more about her own personal therapy working through her psychological issues in public on stage than it is funny and entertaining. A lot of the jokes are really tired but I have to agree with the review that her delivery and performance is really outstanding.

    Also, she’s obviously way too sensitive to constructive critical review. I actually thought this review was fair and balanced. It wasn’t a personal assault, its just an observation (and a fairly accurate one at that). The fact that she felt strongly enough about your review to get on line and accuse you of being angry and bitter is really strange to say the least.

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