Yes, No, Maybe So

Solo Show catherine barnes · Ages 15+ · United States of America

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Review by DAVID MACDOWELL BLUE

August 14, 2021 night tinted glasses original article

What I liked

The story and character(s) as well as the integration of music. No small feat!

What I didn't like

I felt the rhythm and pacing were a bit off, but that might easily have been a result of the streaming, which was giving my PC some problems, alas.

My overall impression

I will admit the fact Yes, No, Maybe So lists itself as a solo musical gave me pause. But less than five minutes in that worry evaporated. Instead I simply went along for the ride, one woman’s journey into that most heady of all adventures—making a decision.

Catherine Barnes’ show (developed and directed with Jessica Lynn Johnson) focuses on a medical exam which proves very creepy indeed, and then Barnes must figure out what to about this. Because the creepiness in this case went beyond a few of the lines that medical professionals should not cross. Yet, hasn’t everyone been rude or creepy sometime? Aren’t there more serious problems the powers that be should address? How much time and effort will be needed to even start the process? These and at least a dozen other considerations come to mind, only to have her own inner dialogue proceed about the pros and cons. Barnes’ own ability to play a wide variety of characters serve her (and the audience), with some special words should go towards the physicality involved. Such a delight to see and appreciate!

But what about it being a musical? Well, the rule of thumb I read once, which still seems valid, goes “Songs are for those moments, feelings, understandings for which at that moment there are no words.” This show achieves precisely that. And with some lovely touches in terms of style, touches which IMHO work best live rather than streaming (but then, that is a pretty good rule of thumb for live theatre in general).

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