Traverse Theatre
6-16, 24 August, times vary.

Edgar OliverDeclaiming in the most extraordinary accent, Edgar Oliver, legend of New York’s downtown theatre scene, introduces us to a weird world of dwarves, cabalists and little old ladies, all sharing a house on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Less a one man play, and more a compendium of short stories, loosely tied together by the narrative device of the house, Oliver performs his own piece with aplomb, eyes popping as he describes the death threats he and his sister Helen survived from their home’s mad occupants, and the ghosts who like to lie on the parlour floor, eyeing the building’s superintendant balefully. His accent is a mixture of southern American and possibly German, a bizarre combination that distracts from the first moment he opens his mouth. In fact, one is unsure whether most of the audience’s laughter derives from the quality of the piece, or from his peculiar pronunciation.

Oliver is certainly a skilled storyteller, abilities honed by many years of writing plays and acting in front of New York’s famously difficult audiences. His stories are interesting, if a little obsessed with the scatological. However, there are better storytellers and more interesting stories to be found at the Fringe, and East 10th Street, despite its Fringe First award, doesn’t hold up well against the competition.

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