Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fringe/Dominate Yourself

You might not think that you're a theatrical bottom, but by the time you've finished watching Dominate Yourself, you'll be aching for the very funny Amy Heidt to continue knotting you up in laughter, battering your funny bone, and pulling "gags" on you. She's a comicatrix, which is to say the ideal solo performer: she's commanding and utterly in control of that stage.

If you're one of those who has mistook one of the "erotics" in the chorus to the Madonna song "Erotica" (which plays during the pre-show) as "neurotic," then this show's for you. Former dominatrix Catherine (one of the six characters Heidt embodies) has brought her wiles to the self-help lecture circuit, to help you find, face, fight, forgive, and flog your "bottom." Sadly, the supremely eccentric Catherine can't be there today--she's fallen from a roof while doing yoga with her dog. Instead, her mild-mannered assistant, Amy (Heidt)--who has obviously never taken the class--arrives, attempting to follow her boss's video instructions and written notes. "Helping" her are several alumni, and while it's the ensuing craziness that delivers the laughs, it's the regular Amy's presence that helps to balance and sell the whole show.

Lest you get the wrong impression, Dominate Yourself is far from cerebral or preachy. Heidt's had a lot of experience with improvisation and stand-up, and she brings an arsenal of clever character tics, mannerisms, and accents to the dungeon. (She's also wigged to the teeth, and well-directed by Amanda Duarte, who makes sure the stage is never empty.) There's Bianca, who speaks almost entirely in emphatic sound effects, and then there's Danni, whose reticent personality and reliance on horoscopes belies her Amazonian blond hair. There's Maxine, a tough Jersey-like girl who's all "fuck that shit," but also Sheila, an Australian who found salvation in a piece of talking toast. Don't let the descriptions fool you, either: Heidt doesn't play her characters just for laughs. She's genuinely trying to communicate a message--albeit in myriad manic forms--and that's what allows her to be so mercilessly funny. Seriously, at just 45 minutes long, you will be begging for more.

On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "Pure execrable masochism" and 5 being "pure exhilarating pleasure," Dominate Yourself gets a 4.5.

No comments: