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Pink Banana's Hit-and-Miss 'End of the World'

Jun. 6, 2012
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This year, Pink Banana Theatre's annual program of one-acts tackles the end of the world. As it turns out, the end of all things is a mixed experience.

Some bad sketch comedy opens Pink Banana's "One-Acts 2012: The End of the World," as part of a slightly lame end-of-the-world quiz-show format. Michael Traynor does his best to elevate cheap comedy as a slick, genuinely funny game-show host.

Traynor is later rewarded for his effort in the role of Jesus Christ in one of the show's best sketches, Andrew Rosdail's clever So Jesus Christ Walks into a Bar.... Part metaphysical drama, part cheap joke, the short ends predictably. Before it does so, however, it moves through some very haunting moments. It's Judgment Day. Gemma Fitzsimmons dazzles as a moody bar owner gazing off into the world's end just offstage. She and a friend (played by Katie Merriman) begin the show wearing paper bags over their heads.

Rosdail's one-act and a short written by actor Clayton Hamburg are the highlights of the show—and well worth the price of admission in and of themselves. Hamburg's Cleanup on Aisle Six is a refreshing, surreal piece. Samantha Martinson and Tim Palacek play employees in a grocery store at the end of the world. It's cute, and also pleasantly disturbing in places.

Not every short is apocalyptic. Liz Faraglia plays a very sweet child who can't sleep in a touching drama opposite Mark Neufang. The program ends with the beginning of life all over again as Allie Beckman and Harold Loeffler-Bell play simple life forms about to evolve in a characteristically funny piece by Rich Orloff.

Pink Banana's "One-Acts 2012: The End of the World" runs through June 9 at Next Act Theatre's space at 255 S. Water St. For ticket reservations, visit Brownpapertickets.com/event/244846

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