This show was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. Admittedly, I’m biased as the subject matter is near and dear to my heart.
Since I wax rhasophdic about the audience experience below, I reckon I should talk about the show. The play itself is a simple comedy of meeting your fiancee’s parents, except they have one real big secret. You can probably guess what it is.
In a broad story like this, the ending and the twists and turns is expected so the performances themselves are the main attraction. The cast doesn’t have a weak link in the bunch and is just small enough that I can elaborate on that.
Vanja Renee anchors the story with a performance that plays into the awkwardness of revealing to your fiancé who you really are while still being brave and confident enough to amusingly vex the Daniel Radcliffe-esque Trevor Broom. The play gains even more human shading with the nudist parents, blustery and hilarious David Faulkner and loving Julie Antti. The latter’s part could easily fade into the background, but Antti brings such warmth and ease to it that she convinces us that this is a real, caring family. Judge Boothby and Travaughn Barbee contribute to that warmth as recognizably crazy siblings that make this the most lovable cast of characters you’ll see at Fringe.
What I didn't like
As much as I agree with it, the script is essentially broad nudist propaganda. On the page, the characters are simply etched with the nudist characters not seeming to understand that it’s a minority lifestyle. Without giving too much away, the Grease-esque ending could have been sharpened by having the characters be all nude together instead of one character fully dressed and only verbal affirming the lifestyle. But that’s a tiny nitpick.
Putting that all aside, the actors rose to the challenge and brought these characters to comic life, making for a delightful if overly pun-filled evening.
My overall impression
Being allowed to participate as a community in this nude adventure made us confront how similar we all really are. The audience was happy and vibrant while the house was really respectful. Be it some one who gets naked every week or a shy first-timer, the sense of camaraderie between cast and audience members over our common humanity was so uplifting I’m still smiling one day later. After seeing this, you may never want to put on clothes again.