Jack Benny (A Ménage En Train)

Critics

LemonMeter

Reviews: 2

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 11

The ENCORE! Producers' Award Winner
100% SWEET Audience Award Winner
PLATINUM 6 Award Winner

We demonstrate an “impossible play,” an automaton, frustrating the desires for union, resolution, and cleanliness with an endless loop, with an analysis of performance while performing, archaeological and forensic. The actors have developed an attitude that performance is not a thing which one does, but is done upon one… performance as obligation, text as a set of confines, blocking as predictive behavior, repetition as torment and joy, with dissociation of text and meaning, riddles for the audience to puzzle, a lack of completion offering the openness of collaboration, frustrating the desires for union and resolution by an endless loop…

The lyric substance embraces obscurity — poets have no difficulty with that. We make darkness visible. Our mode, suggested partly by the work of proto-surrealists, is to affect a granular experience of what we need at large scale: the line of escape.
-~~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
Directed by Juli Crockett
Created by Juli Crockett, Gray Palmer, & Guy Zimmerman
Produced by Gabrieal Griego & Guy Zimmerman

Starring:
Shaughn Buchholz as A
Gray Palmer as B
Jenny Greer as C
Juli Crockett as D
Brian Tichnell as Strange/Wildcard

Sound Design by John Zalewski
Lighting Design by Bri Pattillo

Reviews

This show was like being one of the shiny metal balls inside a vaudeville pinball machine. For the entire duration, it ricochets you all over the place—all within an impossibly small 6x10 space. The actors are fantastic across-the-board, performing with the precision of microsurgeons as they pull off physical theatrical feats and impeccably mouth their lines along with recorded versions of themselves. The sound design—a mix of noir-ish loops, the chug-a-chug of a train, rimshots, and a bric-a-brac of punctuations and explosions—kept the piece moving at the clip of a terrifying yet thrilling runaway train. There's a whole lotta theatre in this sardine-can-of-a-show. Highly recommended!

sweet - Robert Cucuzza


There are very few pieces of art that are able to awaken you from the slumber of everyday existence, and for me the Jack Benny Show at the Three of Clubs did this for me. I was fortunate enough to catch the final show, and I am glad I did. The piece is incredibly well thought out, and the performances were spectacular. I left the show contemplating my own existence, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to see such master work both in the writing, acting, and staging. I am excited to see what else Padua Labs has brewing in the near future.

sweet - Anonymous


The first 5 minutes made me feel like I was in another world. I need to see it again, because the spectacle of what I was watching, but, even more so, hearing, made my mind drift away at times. The sound design is the star of the show. It keeps the show at a constant, driving pace. The performances were outstanding. I especially loved Jenny Greer's vocal delivery. I could listen to her talk all day. Juli Crockett and her "Face" also had me chuckling throughout the show. The gentlemen were all great, too! This is a show you could watch 5 times and still get something out of it. I highly recommend this show.

sweet - Ken Breese


Good thing there's low comedy and the vaudeville tradition standing on the shoulders of forerunners such as Jack Benny. “Jack Benny, the play” takes apart hierarchical power relations, and the text and actors are superb. The various versions of master/slave relations are subject to the democratizing or leveling force of laughter, but also the liberators such as Abraham Lincoln come in for another lowering of dignity. But what is this train from Chicago to Los Angeles, or maybe it's a plane or dirigible? How might romantic mumbo jumbo and disfigurements get slathered onto power differentials and somehow predetermine our response? Is our plane, train, dirigible about to crash in this high-speed set of repetition anxieties that, here, are expertly lip sync'd in either synchronous or asynchronous acting, but there's also a version of lipless mute gesture and, later, bear-headed puppetry? Is Nurse Trout torturing spaceship earth who just might love it? Are you too worried by time and speed to laugh our planet away as Musical Chairs removes your spot?

sweet - Deborah Meadows


The one-hour performance held epic depth. The storytelling was genuine, and permeated the audience. We look forward it's return.

sweet - Star Gillorie


A stylistic journey through everything and nothing at all... a presentation of complex beautiful musings and crass animal outbursts... a journey that allows you to layer meaning upon repetitive experience in a way that makes it constantly new... a funhouse reflection of the everyday struggle that is humanity. See it people. You deserve it.

sweet - Travis Mullins


Amazing performance! I have seen it twice and will go again, because something happens in the plot, something mysterious, which I not only don't want to give away, but I also haven't quite figured out yet. There is some folly with the program that is impossible to summarize. I will confirm some repetition, but never boring, more familiar. I cannot say if it is time reflecting or repeating, but like reality, eventually the plot falls prey to recognizable tropes. Further, the play's foundation includes the various extraordinary physical stages upon which it is exhibited and the humanity of the performers: for instance, by including a substitute actor who stands it for the few main characters while they catch their breath on the bench with the audience for a few. The identity of stage, audience, and temporal progression are all played around with, but never in a boring academic way. Most of the plot seems like an entertaining party, but encapsulated within the stage as if it were a train, plane, or boat; some vehicle going somewhere, although that "somewhere" seems to be different destination for each character. Captivating and engaging, I feel like I know the actor's characters personally and am eager to see how they adapt to include each new theatre in this remarkably fluid, uncategorizable genre of performance.

sweet - Bill Wheelock


Jack Benny (A Ménage En Train) is the first perfect Fringe show of 2018. What does that entail? It is superbly performed, excellently staged, intelligently conceived and was so entirely unexpected that I left The Three Clubs feeling very much like a goose that had been caught aside of the head with a hard-swung two-by-four.

sweet - Ernest Kearney - www.thetvolution.com - ...read full review


The performances are top-notch from characterization to style to movement to diction (something woefully undervalued in so much theater), and the choice of Three Clubs as a venue adds to the 40's vibe...If you're into rapid-fire epic surrealistic theatre, this will be your jam.

Recommended

sweet - Matt Ritchey - Gia On The Move - ...read full review


What these artists have done is nothing short than a miracle in democratic art making with a raw edge of virtuosic writing / performance / design that forms a matrix of co-meaning and co-authorship. The relationship between radio plays / odd ball antics / and large stadium rock concerts overlap in a lip synced schizoid Noire gimlet.

sweet - JESSE BONNELL


A head vending journey through time and transports, Jack Benny will take your space and melt it. Building in fervor, the show barrels through it's dialogue with a constant barrage of energy made accessible via a highly rehearsed menage a tois. Unless you're afraid of thinking, SEE THIS SHOW!

sweet - Max Udell


Sweet, Sweet-Sour, Sour? I've rated this Sweet, because I'm assuming that is the top rating, but I have to say, my ideal theater, as with food is a mix of sweet and sour. I'm not fond of balanced theater, unless it achieves that through a broad embrace of the extremes of reality. We are tight-rope walkers and we need a long pole reaching out in both directions. Balance is not achieved through timidity. The artists involved in this are working to grasp the whole shebang. As I set down to write this, I found my self thinking of a Dylan Thomas quote about Flann O'Brien's whacked out novel, AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS... "This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl." Perhaps that applies to this play as well, if your sister happens to also be a murderously fierce anthropologist with a triple major in archaeology and literature.

sweet - D. W. Jacobs


We're on a looped minimalist railway journey to L.A., but really, we're everywhere and nowhere though our destination becomes more clear as, within the span of under an hour, we take this journey twice. The musings of passengers are vocalized with a smoky opacity that underscores the sense that narrative has sunk beneath a wave of transient chatter, delivered with disturbing zest. Sharply observed sociopathy, erupting in serial soliloquy rife with such vivid picture-phrases as “the beaten beating others, like the passing of the Olympic torch,” come back to pester and haunt long after the (non-existent) curtain falls. Pathos and humor blend seamlessly, triumphantly.

sweet - Eliot Sekuler


Jack Benny (A Ménage En Train) is the first perfect Fringe show of 2018. What does that entail? It is superbly performed, excellently staged, intelligently conceived and was so entirely unexpected that I left The Three Clubs feeling very much like a goose that had been caught aside of the head with a hard-swung two-by-four.

sweet - Ernest Kearney - www.thetvolution.com - ...read full review


The performances are top-notch from characterization to style to movement to diction (something woefully undervalued in so much theater), and the choice of Three Clubs as a venue adds to the 40's vibe...If you're into rapid-fire epic surrealistic theatre, this will be your jam.

Recommended

sweet - Matt Ritchey - Gia On The Move - ...read full review


This show was like being one of the shiny metal balls inside a vaudeville pinball machine. For the entire duration, it ricochets you all over the place—all within an impossibly small 6x10 space. The actors are fantastic across-the-board, performing with the precision of microsurgeons as they pull off physical theatrical feats and impeccably mouth their lines along with recorded versions of themselves. The sound design—a mix of noir-ish loops, the chug-a-chug of a train, rimshots, and a bric-a-brac of punctuations and explosions—kept the piece moving at the clip of a terrifying yet thrilling runaway train. There's a whole lotta theatre in this sardine-can-of-a-show. Highly recommended!

sweet - Robert Cucuzza


There are very few pieces of art that are able to awaken you from the slumber of everyday existence, and for me the Jack Benny Show at the Three of Clubs did this for me. I was fortunate enough to catch the final show, and I am glad I did. The piece is incredibly well thought out, and the performances were spectacular. I left the show contemplating my own existence, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to see such master work both in the writing, acting, and staging. I am excited to see what else Padua Labs has brewing in the near future.

sweet - Anonymous


The first 5 minutes made me feel like I was in another world. I need to see it again, because the spectacle of what I was watching, but, even more so, hearing, made my mind drift away at times. The sound design is the star of the show. It keeps the show at a constant, driving pace. The performances were outstanding. I especially loved Jenny Greer's vocal delivery. I could listen to her talk all day. Juli Crockett and her "Face" also had me chuckling throughout the show. The gentlemen were all great, too! This is a show you could watch 5 times and still get something out of it. I highly recommend this show.

sweet - Ken Breese


Good thing there's low comedy and the vaudeville tradition standing on the shoulders of forerunners such as Jack Benny. “Jack Benny, the play” takes apart hierarchical power relations, and the text and actors are superb. The various versions of master/slave relations are subject to the democratizing or leveling force of laughter, but also the liberators such as Abraham Lincoln come in for another lowering of dignity. But what is this train from Chicago to Los Angeles, or maybe it's a plane or dirigible? How might romantic mumbo jumbo and disfigurements get slathered onto power differentials and somehow predetermine our response? Is our plane, train, dirigible about to crash in this high-speed set of repetition anxieties that, here, are expertly lip sync'd in either synchronous or asynchronous acting, but there's also a version of lipless mute gesture and, later, bear-headed puppetry? Is Nurse Trout torturing spaceship earth who just might love it? Are you too worried by time and speed to laugh our planet away as Musical Chairs removes your spot?

sweet - Deborah Meadows


The one-hour performance held epic depth. The storytelling was genuine, and permeated the audience. We look forward it's return.

sweet - Star Gillorie


A stylistic journey through everything and nothing at all... a presentation of complex beautiful musings and crass animal outbursts... a journey that allows you to layer meaning upon repetitive experience in a way that makes it constantly new... a funhouse reflection of the everyday struggle that is humanity. See it people. You deserve it.

sweet - Travis Mullins


Amazing performance! I have seen it twice and will go again, because something happens in the plot, something mysterious, which I not only don't want to give away, but I also haven't quite figured out yet. There is some folly with the program that is impossible to summarize. I will confirm some repetition, but never boring, more familiar. I cannot say if it is time reflecting or repeating, but like reality, eventually the plot falls prey to recognizable tropes. Further, the play's foundation includes the various extraordinary physical stages upon which it is exhibited and the humanity of the performers: for instance, by including a substitute actor who stands it for the few main characters while they catch their breath on the bench with the audience for a few. The identity of stage, audience, and temporal progression are all played around with, but never in a boring academic way. Most of the plot seems like an entertaining party, but encapsulated within the stage as if it were a train, plane, or boat; some vehicle going somewhere, although that "somewhere" seems to be different destination for each character. Captivating and engaging, I feel like I know the actor's characters personally and am eager to see how they adapt to include each new theatre in this remarkably fluid, uncategorizable genre of performance.

sweet - Bill Wheelock


What these artists have done is nothing short than a miracle in democratic art making with a raw edge of virtuosic writing / performance / design that forms a matrix of co-meaning and co-authorship. The relationship between radio plays / odd ball antics / and large stadium rock concerts overlap in a lip synced schizoid Noire gimlet.

sweet - JESSE BONNELL


A head vending journey through time and transports, Jack Benny will take your space and melt it. Building in fervor, the show barrels through it's dialogue with a constant barrage of energy made accessible via a highly rehearsed menage a tois. Unless you're afraid of thinking, SEE THIS SHOW!

sweet - Max Udell


Sweet, Sweet-Sour, Sour? I've rated this Sweet, because I'm assuming that is the top rating, but I have to say, my ideal theater, as with food is a mix of sweet and sour. I'm not fond of balanced theater, unless it achieves that through a broad embrace of the extremes of reality. We are tight-rope walkers and we need a long pole reaching out in both directions. Balance is not achieved through timidity. The artists involved in this are working to grasp the whole shebang. As I set down to write this, I found my self thinking of a Dylan Thomas quote about Flann O'Brien's whacked out novel, AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS... "This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl." Perhaps that applies to this play as well, if your sister happens to also be a murderously fierce anthropologist with a triple major in archaeology and literature.

sweet - D. W. Jacobs


We're on a looped minimalist railway journey to L.A., but really, we're everywhere and nowhere though our destination becomes more clear as, within the span of under an hour, we take this journey twice. The musings of passengers are vocalized with a smoky opacity that underscores the sense that narrative has sunk beneath a wave of transient chatter, delivered with disturbing zest. Sharply observed sociopathy, erupting in serial soliloquy rife with such vivid picture-phrases as “the beaten beating others, like the passing of the Olympic torch,” come back to pester and haunt long after the (non-existent) curtain falls. Pathos and humor blend seamlessly, triumphantly.

sweet - Eliot Sekuler