BOTTOM LINE: An odd show with an odd performance. Quite enjoyable with a high level of discomfort...but in a good way.
It or Her is about a man who spends all of his time in a basement with his collection of female figurines as he tries to discover the ultimate arrangement that will display them in the most perfect of ways. Sound creepy? It is. Andrew walks the fine line between fantasy and reality, constantly reminding himself that each figurine is an "it" and not a "her." Brian McManamon takes hold of the part and never lets go. The only actor in the show, he demands attention from the moment we hear his voice in the dark and he gets to eat up the scenery through the rest of the show. He plays it with a comic sense of tragedy and he makes us question what is real for him and what isn't. Does he really have an ex-wife and if so, is she what is in the box? We are left wondering, but we know for certain that the future for Andrew is not a good one.
Writer Alena Smith has found a clever way to introduce the other people in Andrew's life (his ex-wife, his evil homosexual twin brother with a vague European accent) and we learn that since those relationships failed him, he depends on his figurines for solace. It also gives McManamon the opportunity to move from one character to another and he does so with ease. Assuming that the relationships he speaks of are, in fact, real, it is clear why the figurines are the only "friends" he has left. To Andrew, they are his lovely, flirty, coquettish pals...and very real. So real in fact, that they are given a bow in the curtain call.
It or Her is what makes something like the Frigid Festival so exciting. You never know what you are going to see and actors, writers and directors are willing to take a chance. Director Jessi D. Hill, along with Smith and McManamon have done themselves proud.
(It Or Her plays at the Red Room, 85 East 4th Street, through March 4, 2010. Performances are February 28th @ 2 pm, March 1 @ 6:30 pm and March 4th @ 8 pm. Tickets are $16 and can be purchased at smarttix.com. For more festival information visit frigidnewyork.info.)