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All My Children

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
Which is the scarier three-word phrase—"I'm your father" or "one-man show"? In the case of writer-performer Matt Smith's diverting 90-minute offering, be not afraid of either. The seed of the tale, told in a genial storytelling style, is an outlandish conceit: Max Poth, a childless bachelor with a breezy self-deprecating streak, discovers that all six of his ex-significant others married their next partner within three months of breaking up with him, and all gave birth to their only children within a year. Poth tracks down the progeny and declares that he's their father, knowing he isn't. This isn't an exercise in malevolence; the first lie just springs from Poth's lips, the second chases the illicit thrill of the first, and as relationships develop, the serial fibbing becomes something of a quest. It's a credit to Smith's quality as a writer and performer that he doesn't flog this absurd notion for laughs. He lays off the histrionics—all but one of his former partners’ kids (a 13-year-old) react to the life-changing bombshell with varying degrees of incredulity—and injects the proceedings with gentle laughs and believable characters. Smith still throws in a few curveballs, such as makes his pad available as a sex nest to a pair of Christian fundamentalists. Only when Poth offers his junkie "daughter" $100 to Eskimo-kiss does the joke fall… Well, it falls plain creepy. That's but one knot in an otherwise enjoyable yarn. (Visit the FringeNYC Encore Series website for more information.)—Jonathan Shannon


Event website:
$15, at the door $18
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