FRINGE REVIEW: Occupational Pleasures

Photo by Daniel R. Winters
Photo by Daniel R. Winters

OCCUPATIONAL PLEASURES is by far one of the funniest Fringe shows of the year.  Written by local playwright and comedian, Ben Dudley, this office-based comedy is the story of what happens when bored co-workers start writing fan fiction about a secret office romance.  It’s a hilarious premise and it pays off in spades.  (And features some tremendous multi-media.)

The cast is stacked; Dylan Shelton plays the lovable everyman with self-image issues while Lauren Showen plays the girlfriend who’s just a little out of his league.  They’re very solid and anchor the story but for me it was the performances by Nathan Neorr, Lisa DeRoberts, and Leah Strasser that stole the show.

Noerr is an interesting actor.  He just oozes confidence on stage and this is a perfect role for him. As “Gary,” the de facto douche bag of the office, he revels in his role as chief smut writer.  DeRoberts, one of the cities finest comedians, is at her best here; her comedy is focused, sharp, and I credit director Charlie Roetting with reigning in her immense talent.  And then there’s Strasser, who might be giving Kelly Mengelkoch at Cincy Shakes a run for her money as our cities most versatile actress.  (Mengelkoch still has more natural grace than just about anyone).  Here Strasser plays a nerdy, odd woman with just enough depth to make her interesting while maintaining the tone of the piece.  She’s good.

Rounding out the cast is Dave Powell, whose natural charisma makes him a great choice for roles that give him good one-liners.  Audiences adore him and he’s a good dude.  Also on stage is Carter Bratton as a creepy custodian who does and says little; unusual for him to be this under utilized but also nice for him to have a little break from carrying the show.

OCCUPATIONAL PLEASURES is just that – a pleasure to watch.  Catch it one last time TONIGHT at 7:45 at Know Theatre.  Click here for details.