Monday, August 8, 2016

Fringe Festival 2016: "Celebrity Book Club"

Day: 4

Show: 18

Category: Comedy

By: Outlandish Productions

Written by: Jimmy LeDuc, Dan Hetzel, and Sulia Rose Altenberg

Location: Theatre in the Round

Summary: A mock TV show in which a host, producer, and assistant talk about books written by celebrities, with a different theme and special guest panel (comprised of Fringe favorites) at every performance.

Highlights: Funny people reading ridiculous books that probably only got published because the author is a celebrity. Simple premise, but it works, especially with the creative team of Jimmy LeDuc (the producer keeping the show going), Dan Hetzel (the genial and slightly smarmy host), and Sulia Rose Altenberg (the helpful and sometimes hostile assistant). I attended on "Celebrity Fiction or Poetry" night, so I enjoyed the poems of Jewel read by Avi Aharoni, Ally Sheedy's poems (some of which were written during her stint at Hazeldon) read by Joshua English Scrimshaw, Pamela Anderson's novel Star Struck, read by Jen Scott, and finally, selections from Touch Me: The Poems Suzanne Sommers, read by Eric Webster. It's a fun and informal show, kind of like a late-night talk show recurring skit, with the audience given the vote on each book whether to "shelve it" or "trash it." The thin premise succeeds because of the talent, humor, and charm of the regulars and special guests.