The Orlando International Film Festival has been home to plenty of "wonderful but painfully-produced theatre," but nothing in its 66 year history has approached the awfulness of My E-mails with Shakespeare, local thespian Thomas Wayne's (Eric Pinder) self-indulgent solo shit sandwich of "syphilitic ravings." At least, that's according to the notice from Orlando Weekly-Sentinel theatre reviewer Natalie Kent (Meghan Moroney), an incendiary evisceration -- not even awarded "zero stars" but a "black hole, the only thing in the universe that sucks harder" -- so insulting that Wayne is compelled to kidnap the critic for revenge. Wayne's felony goes awry thanks to the non-help of an irritatingly incompetent moving man (Will Hagaman), who turns out to be an analogue for the audience in the eternal war between artist and analyzer.
Many assumed MST3K's Bill Corbett was largely responsible for the sidesplitting script of last year's Fringe hit My Monster, but The Worst Show in the Fringe proves that his less-famous co-writer Joseph Scrimshaw is a genius comic playwright on his own. As both a stage producer and journalist, I've been on both sides of this debate (both receiving and writing negative reviews) and have personally stated things eerily similar to the soliloquies in this show -- but never as smartly and snarkily as they are said here. Director Ryan Gigliotti has honed his first-class cast to a razor's edge of comic timing, with Pinder and Moroney's verbal volleying approaching "Abbot & Costello Meet Noel Coward" quality. No matter whether you spend your time in the theater on-stage, back-stage, or in the cheap seats: this not only isn't the worst show in the festival, it's the funniest scripted comedy I've seen so far this Fringe.
Will Hagaman Comedy & Clockwork Hobo - Orlando, FL
Friday 18 May; at 9:30pm in the Patrons'
Saturday 19 May; at 10:00pm in the Patrons'
Sunday 20 May; at 8:45pm in the Patrons'
Tuesday 22 May; at 11:15pm in the Patrons'
Thursday 24 May; at 9:45pm in the Patrons'
Friday 25 May; at 10:45pm in the Patrons'
Saturday 26 May; at 3:45pm in the Patrons'
Price: $9 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)