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WaterTower Theatre

Reviewed Performance 3/4/2011

Reviewed by Mary L. Clark, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

GROTESQUEMOS-Ryan Martin and Justin Locklear

Fringe festivals bring out the best, worst and strangest performers and performances, no matter where the festival is held. The second evening at the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival being held at WaterTower Theatre in Addison certainly was no different. My evening started by watching two "hobo meets Don Quixote" clowns named Grotesquemos. They silently roamed through the theatre lobby and courtyard. Playing with the waiting audiences, they sword fought, attempted to catch objects thrown in the air, and generally, amused themselves. One tried to curl up and sleep in the outside chair next to me but he was too tall to get comfortable. I was told the clowns sometimes go by the names of Ryan Martin and Justin Locklear but I'm not quite certain. They were both a delight to watch and my only suggestion was to have some information passed out to promote them. Grostesquemos was the perfect addition to this fringe festival and a great start to the night.


Not being a social media devotee, I was unaware that David Lee Nelson's solo play titled Status Update had anything to do with Facebook or any other social network. Mr. Nelson talked about his change of status dilemma, amongst many other things, in his very personal, very funny recollections and commentary on divorce, acting, drinking, drugs and naps, all while being 32, now sober and a stand-up comedian.

Nelson discussed his life, past and present, as though he were doing a comedy gig ? standing before a microphone and drinking water between laughs. During a series of "turned towards himself" videos, he slowly explained why he and his wife separated. As the videos played, he stood to the side and nervously checked his note cards before the next stand-up bit.

Dressed somewhat like Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Nelson's demeanor was all polite uncertainty. He smiled meekly and paused frequently to the extent that you felt nervous for him. But, as his stand-up continued, it being clear he was in total control and it presented itself as reflection within stand-up comedy within a play. Status Update had a spark of that highly quirky, highly imaginative work of the late Andy Kaufmann. To bear your soul and yet remain funny was no small feat and Nelson inventively juggled both in his capable hands.

Believing I was going to watch a comedian doing a often done routine, I walked out, instead, having seen a talented man explain the struggles of turning his life around while remaining a performer, a stand-up. David Lee Nelson's performance was compelling, laugh-filled and a definite must see.


The late-night performance for this evening was The FTP Comedy Troupe and their part sketch comedy, part improve, part video presentation called Inside the Loop. A send-up of life in our fair city and metroplex, seven members of this Nouveau 47 Theatre spin off, lampooned Dallas' traffic, City Council, the State Fair, late night TV lawyers and so much more. Taking cues from audience suggestions, troupe members played The Dating Game, recreated a suicide attempt off of The High Five (it was funny, really!) and dramatized one audience member's really lousy day to peals of laughter. The final sketch concerned our recent weather and a certain football game and was sung to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody - not a spoiler as it was so inventive, so spot on and hysterical.

The best part about seeing FTP Comedy Troupe and their newest incarnation Inside the Loop is that it won't ever be the same twice ? duh . . . it's improved! And the troupe players will most likely change each time so there really is no reason not to see FTP again and again. They have two more performances at the festival and I love reading their favorite charity is ACTORS (After College There's Only Restaurant Service). Keep these actors out of those restaurants and into more theatre spaces where they can continue full sail as Dallas' newest comedy troupe, leaving laughter in their wake.

Grotesquemos, David Lee Nelson . . . Status Update and Inside the Loop
Out of the Loop Fringe Festival
WaterTower Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison, TX 75001

David Lee Nelson . . . Status Update plays Sunday, March 6th at 5 pm and again on Tuesday, March 8th at 7:30pm. The play contains adult sexual matter and language and is not recommended for anyone under 18.

Inside the Loop plays Friday, March 11th and Saturday, March 12th at 10pm. May also contain adult material so be advised.