BOTTOM LINE: They tell you you'll laugh and you'll cry, but this show is much heavier on the drama than it is on the comedy.
Ah, death, and its subsequent coping mechanisms. Emma and Harvey, the couple in Hello, I Must Be Going, know it all too well. Harvey's father has just had a debilitating stroke and weeks later Emma gives birth to twins - one of whom is stillborn. How will they go on? Well, with a sense of humor, for starters, and the immense joy of being first-time parents to Julie, the surviving twin. If that particular child hadn't been born, this would have been a very different story.
Hello, I Must Be Going employs an interesting technique with its storytelling. A few of the characters are adults who talk for themselves: Emma (Deborah Green), Harvey (Robin Haynes), and Harvey's father Maury (Michael Twaine). The other characters can't speak in the real world, but they have no trouble communicating: the twins Maggie (Lily Corvo) and Julie (Rick Desloge) converse in the womb, and later to their mother and to their grandfather, and Maury's Spirit (Jeremy Lawrence) exposes Maury's thoughts even though he can barely speak. Through this mechanism, playwright Albi Gorn imagines another layer to these relationships and opens the audience's understanding to the inner workings of this family.
The script also bounces around in time and shows Harvey, in particular, at various stages in his life. This conceit works well to clue the audience in on his relationship with his father. All in all, the unique approach to the storytelling works well, weaving a sort of web of relationships and making sure the details are explained.
The story itself is touching and sincere, and the performances are equally as endearing. There is an ABC Family channel component to the production as it dwells on the importance of family, especially at tough times. Aside from one F-bomb, the show is very clean, although it's not for kids since the subject matter is a little intense.
Hello, I Must Be Going tackles a tough subject matter while maintaining a jovial sensibility. Despite its attempt at humor, it can't quite overcome the gravity of its subject, and as a result it's awfully sad. But the production is both reverent and sweet, and the performances are enjoyable.
(Hello, I Must Be Going plays at Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory, 64 East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, through August 19th. Remaining performances are Sunday 8/15 at 2pm, Monday 8/16 at 7:45pm, Tuesday 8/17 at 5pm, Wednesday 8/18 at 10pm, and Thursday 8/19 at 7:15pm. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and are available at FringeNYC.com, by calling 866.468.7619, or in person at FringeCENTRAL, located at 1 East 8th Street at 5th Avenue. There is NO LATE SEATING for Fringe NYC shows.)