“Opening Night” begins with hilariously feuding twin sister Hollywood stars, who are brilliantly named Margo Nightingale and Joan de Tuileries, each presenting what they thought was a one-woman show. They hadn’t noticed the posters promoting the show as a “dual career retrospective.”
Kristina Grosspietsch and Devin O’Neill, the creators and cast of this funny hour-long Fringe show, aren’t content to present the sisters trading insults and trying to upstage one another at the two simultaneous one-woman shows — although I would certainly have been. They create six more characters who are also in the theater that night, in scenes that rapidly alternate with one another.
George the director is babbling on about past glories – he made John Wayne a star! – while Nancy the stage manager is talking into her headset making sure the tech crew hits the cues, and fixing glitches (“They’ve skipped ahead – we need the horse!”)
Two stagehands, a man and a woman, anxiously flirt and awkwardly fall in love.
Two audience members who don’t get along, brothers-in-law accompanied by their (invisible) wives, begin the evening by fighting over the arm-rest. Eventually they bond over their admiration for both Margo and Joan, and their mutual love of theater.
I could quibble about this show. Why, for example, is it called “Opening Night” if the dual retrospective (the show within the show) is advertised as “one night only?” Why give more or less equal weight to all four pairings?
But, for all its imperfections, “Opening Night” feels like the Essence of Fringe – with the comedy duo’s good-humored energy; their deft, synchronized physical comedy; and, above all, the knowing, over-the-top scenes between Joan and Margo.
Joan: Ladies and gentlemen, Please excuse my sister for her tasteless insults — you see, she’s never gotten over that I was cast in a motion picture a full year before she was.
Margo: Ha! Ladies and gentlemen. I think she’s forgetting, that after she vomited on Charlie Chaplin’s shoes she lost the part of “The Kid” to someone more professional.
Joan: Ha! Professional! This coming from the woman who ate all the prop food on the set of “The Gold Rush.”
“Opening Night” is a FringeNY show. Remaining performances: Tuesday, October 16 at 9 p.m, Saturday October 20 at 9, Sunday October 21 at 5:15, Sunday October 28 at 1:45.