Monica Bill Barnes & Company: One Night Only (running as long as we can)
Time Out says
Review by Helen Shaw
In the spirit of the super-sporty One Night Only (running as long as we can), let’s cut straight to the highlights reel. Anticipation is high.… The crowd knows that Monica Bill Barnes & Company have made lovely dance-theater works in the past, such as 2015’s Happy Hour, and…yes! There on a pair of treadmills, Barnes and Anna Bass are running intently! It does the heart good to see vets like these still out there in their sneakers and black Chaplin pants, exhausting themselves out of pure sportsmanship. In this corner, deadpan sports announcer Robert Saenz de Viteri does a killer comic bit about selecting an audience MVP! In that corner, the tungsten-steel Barnes leaps through a barrel turn!
For a wonderful moment, when an audience member reads out the duo’s encyclopedic list of career injuries, we understand the awful physical investments that underwrite this piece. But for the most part, the show operates by rules it establishes early: Songs with lyrics about hanging on or moving forward—like Modern English’s “I Melt With You”—play while Bass and Barnes do athletically inspired choreography; De Viteri keeps up a stream of absurd commentary; the dancers, their faces clown-serious, try to get us to cheer for ridiculous goals, like “most spins” or “fastest snaps.” It can be keenly pleasurable, but it’s often repetitive. Although it’s great to see this team back on the field, their game, just 65 minutes long, moves slightly into overtime.
WP Theater (Off Broadway). Performed and created by Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass and Robert Saenz de Viteri. Choreographed by Barnes. Running time: 1hr 5mins. No intermission. Through Oct 8.
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