Don't believe that the Fringe can change your life? Just look at Bernie "O'B" O'Brien. Five years ago he was a semi-retired working stiff without any stage experience; today he's a published author and sought-after storyteller -- and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
O'B's latest one-man opus, Jitters, involves a return to his favorite Boston watering hole for a reunion with the old gang. There's supposedly an underlying metaphor about the internal struggle between "the drifter and the dreamer" but I didn't really get that; really, we're here to hear him unravel some rambling yarns about his days as a manager in a swinging singles apartment complex. We learn that Preparation H makes a better ointment than cologne,that Blues Brothers musician Matt "Guitar" Murphy is a cheapskate, and that "women have always been in charge, but they only told us so recently." The show wraps up with a funny rant about the Vagina Monologues, and some scatological medical advice that left me howling "huh?"
It's a shame O'B famously went sober a few decades ago, because his booming Irish voice would go well with a tumbler of whiskey or two. He's like the kindly, slightly kooky uncle you always wish you had. I'd still love to see him hook up with a director to help shape his still-uneven pacing. But this is by far the best-sculpted show I've seen O'B in yet, and I can't wait to see what stories he has up his sleeve for next year.
Bernie "O'B" Brien - Mount Dora, Florida - Mount Dora, FL
Thursday 17 May; at 5:45pm in the Patrons'
Saturday 19 May; at 2:45pm in the Patrons'
Sunday 20 May; at 2:00pm in the Patrons'
Monday 21 May; at 7:00pm in the Patrons'
Wednesday 23 May; at 5:15pm in the Patrons'
Saturday 26 May; at 5:45pm in the Patrons'
Sunday 27 May; at 12:45pm in the Patrons'
Price: $8 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)