Hope is the saddest

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Photograph: Michelle Robin Anderson

Jeffrey Jay Fowler’s Hope is the saddest is an Australian dark comedy so determinedly quirky that it comes off as oddly generic, with the genre in question being "Fringe Festival show." Start with the on-the-nose title (Hope is the name of the play’s central character). Add two lonely women and a cute, drifty gay guy (played by the writer, who is also the director); make all of them psychotic, so that the plot can go in any direction. Throw in a pop-culture icon—in this case, a life-size cardboard cutout of Hope’s idol, Dolly Parton. Have the characters speak mostly in offbeat monologues, and contrive a series of coincidental encounters among them involving unlikely sex and violence. Et voilà! It’s over in less than an hour. The show is largely engaging, thanks to some inventive swerves of the writer’s wheel and a polished cast that has been involved with the project for years. (Michelle Robin Anderson and Natalie Holmwood play the crazy ladies.) But the piece’s idiosyncrasies get wearisome the more they keep climbing the twee. (Visit our Fringe Festival page for more reviews, and fringenyc.org for more information.)—Adam Feldman

Event phone: 212-475-7710
Event website: http://lamama.org
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